A woman who bought two guns used by a former neighbor in a deadly Christmas Eve ambush of firefighters has pleaded not guilty to a state charge of filing a falsified business record.
Dawn Nguyen made a brief court appearance on Tuesday in Henrietta Town Court. She is free on the condition she not leave Monroe County except to attend college classes in a neighboring county. Neither she nor her lawyer spoke to reporters afterward.
Nguyen, 24, of the Rochester suburb of Greece, is accused of lying on a form when she bought guns later used by ex-convict William Spengler Jr. to kill two firefighters and wound three other first responders in Webster.
Nguyen faces the same charge in federal court.
Prosecutors said Nguyen indicated on a form that a 12-gauge shotgun and AR-15 semiautomatic rifle she bought at a Gander Mountain store in Henrietta in 2010 were for her, but they were really for Spengler, an ex-convict who wasn't allowed to have them. Spengler accompanied Nguyen to the store and picked out the weapons.
Spengler set his Webster house on fire on Christmas Eve and shot four volunteer firefighters, killing two, as they arrived on the scene. Two other firefighters and a police officer were wounded. Spengler, 62, who had served 17 years in prison for killing his grandmother with a hammer, then killed himself.
The blaze destroyed seven homes on the narrow stretch of land on Lake Ontario.
"She's very sorry that this individual chose to use the guns 2½ years later in this way and really shocked about what happened," Nguyen's lawyer John Parrinello said Monday.
Nguyen's family for a time lived next door to Spengler, and she knew him as "Uncle Billy," the lawyer said.
"I hope for her benefit that everybody understands how tangential, if at all, any role she had and how it is totally unrelated to what this maniac did on Christmas Eve," Parrinello said.