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Spotsy man guilty of firearms charge
Three charges against Spotsy man dropped; he is convicted of one misdemeanor

Date published: 2/2/2011

BY KEITH EPPS

A Spotsylvania County man accused of shooting at a man who had come to his home to retrieve some property was convicted Monday night on one of four charges he faced.

Matthew Thomas Lux, 33, was convicted of reckless handling of a firearm by a Spotsylvania jury and received a 30-day jail term and a $1,500 fine. He was found not guilty of attempted malicious wounding, using a firearm in the commission of a felony and brandishing a firearm.

Lux was accused of shooting at Matthew Elder during a Jan. 3 incident at Lux's home at 6205 Plank Road. Elder testified that Lux fired five shots, including one right by his head at point-blank range.

Lux testified that Elder's story was a fabrication. He said he didn't even see Elder that night, and the only shots he fired all day were at a target near his home. He said Elder had been upset with him because he fired him from a job a few months earlier.

Defense attorney Jim Ilijevich said Elder, who has a prior petty larceny conviction, clearly made up the story and pointed out several inconsistencies in it. "So much of his testimony doesn't make any sense," Ilijevich said. "This thief sat here today and lied."

Commonwealth's Attorney Bill Neely acknowledged there were some inconsistencies in Elder's testimony, but said Lux's story is "far more outrageous. It's a pathetic defense, frankly."

The most contentious part of the trial came when Lux's father, Herbert Lux, testified on his son's behalf. After answering questions, Herbert Lux attacked Neely in front of the jury, accusing him of perjury and criminal misconduct. Herbert Lux also said that Neely and Sheriff Howard Smith ignored his request to "come out and do a real investigation."

Ilijevich asked for a mistrial after Herbert Lux's outburst, saying the jurors might hold it against his client. Judge David Beck, who repeatedly told Herbert Lux to stop talking, did not declare a mistrial but did instruct the jurors to ignore Herbert Lux's unsolicited commentary and not hold it against Matthew Lux.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404
Email: kepps@freelancestar.com