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DOJ: Man who pistol-whipped neighbor sentenced

Published On: Aug 21 2013 06:59:15 PM CDT

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MADISON, Wis. -

A Madison man was sentenced Tuesday to 24 months in federal prison for being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm after threatening to shoot his neighbor in July 2012, according to a Department of Justice release.

Esteban Bernard, 27, of Madison, was also charged with being an illegal drug user in possession of a firearm, according to the release. Bernard pleaded guilty to both charges June 18.

According to the criminal complaint, on July 20, 2012, Bernard mistakenly believed his neighbor had stolen money from him and when into the neighbor’s Vilas Avenue apartment with several other men.

Bernard pointed a gun at the neighbor and demanded to know where his money was, according to the release. Bernard told his neighbor he was going to die, pistol-whipped the neighbor repeatedly, and beat him over the head.

Officials said when they got to the scene, Bernard had sent the gun away in a friend’s vehicle but it was tracked down within a few hundred feet of the apartment building.

A search warrant lead to officials finding a second pistol and a small marijuana-growing operation in Bernard’s apartment, according to the release. Fingerprint and DNA evidence linked Bernard to both weapons.

Bernard was charged also in state court and ultimately pleaded guilty to charges relating to drug possession, trespass of a dwelling, and a battery, receiving a sentence of five months in jail, according to the release.

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