A jury has found a man accused of shooting an unarmed man not guilty of attempted murder.
The jury, in Pima County Superior Court Judge Jane Eikleberry’s courtroom Monday, determined Gustav Ray Bland did not commit attempted first-degree murder nor the lesser offense of attempted second-degree murder.
Bland was found guilty on two counts of aggravated assault in connection with the shooting of Michael Scotto in April 2012. The jury found him guilty of a third count of aggravated assault.
At trial, Bland testified that he shot Scotto in self-defense outside the victim’s midtown apartment. “I wasn’t sure what else to do,” Bland said. “I wanted to make sure I lived through the night.”
Bland and attorney Brick Storts said a dispute erupted at Scotto’s house the night of the incident. As the argument escalated, Bland left the house but Scotto pursued him, eventually punching Bland in the face.
Bland testified that Scotto was known to have a gun in the house. He also said Scotto called out for one of his sons to help him after he punched Bland, which he considered a potentially deadly threat.
But Deputy Pima County Attorney Jared Kreamer Hope said Bland used excessive force against a perceived threat, and noted no gun was found in Scotto’s apartment.