ELKHORN — A farm worker accused in a racially charged encounter with Hispanic passersby in a car has been convicted on a felony weapons charge.
David L. Wells, 28, who describes himself as homeless, was found guilty in Walworth County Circuit Court on Sept. 24 of possession of a short-barreled shotgun, after a jury deliberated about one hour in the case.
Acting as his own attorney in the case, Wells faces up to six years in prison when sentencing is imposed on Oct. 9.
The jury also convicted him of misdemeanor disorderly conduct, but found him not guilty of discharging a firearm within 100 yards of a building, which is also a misdemeanor.
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Wells, who was living in the Walworth County community of Sharon at the time, was charged in June after police reported that he had confronted a group of Hispanics who stopped in their vehicle on a public road near the farm where he was working.
Prosecutors charged that Wells ordered the Hispanics to leave the area, then fired a shotgun into the air, and then uttered a racial slur toward them when police arrived on the scene.
The incident immediately cost Wells his job working for a farm along Highway A in the Town of Richmond.
Court records show that the jury trial in Walworth County Circuit Court took less than two days, and that Wells did not call any witnesses in his defense.