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Gun provider pleads guilty in Columbine case

Manes, second from right, leaves the courthouse with his attorney, right, and family  

August 18, 1999
Web posted at: 12:34 p.m. EDT (1634 GMT)

In this story:

Sentencing October 14


GOLDEN, Colorado (CNN) -- In a plea bargain that may keep him out of jail, the man charged with providing a semi-automatic handgun used in the Columbine High shootings pleaded guilty Wednesday to two felony charges.

Mark Manes sold a TEC DC-9 pistol to 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold about two months before the April 20 attack in the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colorado.

Standing in Jefferson County District Court with his hands folded in front of him and his parents seated behind him, Manes pleaded guilty to providing a handgun to a minor and possession of a sawed-off shotgun.

The latter charge stems from evidence that Manes shot an illegal sawed-off shotgun with Harris and Klebold.

The TEC DC-9 was one of four guns used in the attack at Columbine. Before taking their own lives that day, the gunmen shot dead 12 fellow students and a teacher.

Harris and Klebold also used two shotguns and a rifle legally purchased by Klebold's friend, Robyn Anderson.

Under Colorado law, an 18-year-old without a felony record can furnish minors with rifles and shotguns. Investigators have characterized Anderson as a witness, not a suspect.

Sentencing October 14

Manes, a former Columbine student, purchased the TEC DC-9 at a gun show last fall.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 14.

The two guilty pleas on felony charges could bring an 18-year prison term if Manes served consecutive sentences. That maximum sentence is not considered likely, however, following the twin guilty pleas.

In court, Manes' attorney, Robert Ransome said Manes and his parents acted together in reaching the decision to enter a guilty plea.

"They want to take responsibility," he said. "They want to make a statement about guns."

Prosecutor Steven Jensen said Harris and Klebold contacted Manes on April 19, the night before the shooting, and asked him to get ammunition for the TEC DC-9.

Manes went out that night and bought 100 rounds of 9 mm shells at a Kmart, the prosecutor told the court.

Jensen said Manes asked if they were going shooting that night. According to the prosecutor, they responded, "No, they were going to go shooting tomorrow," a reference to April 20.

Police say there appears to be no evidence that Manes knew what Harris and Klebold were planning to do with the weapon.

Philip Duran, a pizza shop employee who worked with Harris and Klebold, introduced them to Manes when Duran learned they were looking for weapons.

Duran, 22, is scheduled to appear in court next week. Because he helped with the introduction, he is charged with providing a gun to a minor, which carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Duran also is accused of possessing a dangerous or illegal weapon, which carries a maximum three-year prison term and a $3,000 fine.

Correspondent Tony Clark contributed to this report.

Columbine tragedy was 'wakeup call' for nation's SWAT teams
August 18, 1999
Students triumphant in 'taking back' Columbine High
August 16, 1999
Alleged provider of Columbine handgun may face new charge
June 22, 1999
Colleague of Columbine shooters arrested
June 17, 1999

Columbine High School
  • Fact Sheet on Colorado School Shooting
School violence
CDC: Facts About Violence Among Youth
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