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Waterloo man not convicted by jury of more egregious weapon charge

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WATERLOO – A jury found Daniel Lee Sperry-Weber guilty of the lesser of two weapon charges Thursday afternoon in Black Hawk County District Court.

Sperry-Weber, 59, of Waterloo, was charged Feb. 20 with a felony that, had he been convicted, would have meant up to 10 years behind bars.

But jurors did not convict him of intimidation with a weapon. Instead, jurors found him guilty of domestic assault with a weapon, an aggravated misdemeanor. He could be sentenced to up to two years in prison.

He was arrested after he fired a .22-magnum North American Arms revolver in the direction of his wife as they discussed a possible divorce.

The shot hit a bedroom door inside their home.

Both the defense and prosecution during closing arguments agreed he had fired the gun, but disagreed about his intent.

Sperry-Weber was described as being drunk at the time and at one point claimed to have seen an intruder. Prosecutors believed that was fabricated, and he meant to scare or harm his wife.

“You don’t fire a gun at someone for no reason,” said Assistant County Attorney Brad Walz.

The defense argued that in his drunken state he didn’t know what he was doing.

Prosecution said drunkenness was not an excuse for his actions, but criminal defense attorney Nichole Watt said she was not trying to defend domestic violence, but that Sperry-Weber never intended to harm his wife.

Discussion of divorce was not a new topic, and there had not been previous violence between the couple. The defense argued there was no evidence to suggest the argument was as intense as it was being portrayed by the prosecution.

The defense pointed to the wife’s calm demeanor following the incident as proof she did not believe she was in danger.

But the prosecution noted the 911 call, when the couple’s daughter said, “My dad is trying to shoot my mom,” sounded like someone was in danger.

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Cedar Falls, Waverly City Government Reporter

I've covered city government for The Courier since August 2021. I'm a Chatham, NJ native who graduated from Gettysburg College in 2018 and previously worked for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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