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Man pleads guilty to weapons charges in Talent Thanksgiving shooting

 Posted: 6:15 PM April 08, 2013

A man facing multiple attempted murder charges for firing three gunshots into a Talent house on Thanksgiving morning in 2011 pleaded guilty today in Jackson County Circuit Court to three weapons charges and was sentenced to more than five years in prison.

Aaron Daniel Adrian Merlina, 30, apologized to the community for his actions before pleading guilty before Judge Timothy Gerking to two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and a single count of being a felon in possession of a weapon. He was sentenced to 70 months in prison. He will be given credit for the more than 16 months he has been held in the Jackson County Jail on $750,000 bail since the incident.

"I'm extremely remorseful," Merlina said.

Merlina was facing up to 20 years behind bars if convicted of all the charges initially filed against him. Two counts of attempted aggravated murder, six counts of attempted murder, eight additional counts of unlawful use of a weapon, one count of attempted second-degree assault, three counts of reckless endangerment, and another count of being a felon in possession of a weapon were dropped in the plea agreement negotiated by Jackson County prosecutor David Hoppe and Bend defense attorney Foster Glass.

Talent police say Merlina showed up at the home of Dyana Rodrigues, 33, and Gerald Blake Wooley, 28, in the 100 block of South First Street at 6:45 a.m. on Thanksgiving day in 2011. An altercation ensued that was a continuation of a fight that had occurred the previous night at Merlina's home in the 3100 block of South Pacific Highway, Talent Police Chief Mike Moran said at the time.

Merlina allegedly fired three shots into the home with a small-caliber handgun before leaving the scene with the unidentified individual.

Two of the shots went through a window and one went through the front door. No one was hurt, but Rodrigues' 11-year-old daughter was showered with glass after shots came through a window near where she had been sleeping.

Glass said his client had "gone off the deep end." But Merlina had "never intended to kill anyone," he said.

Hoppe said the victims, who did not attend Merlina's sentencing, were not going to be cooperative. Merlina received stiffer than typical sentences for his guilty pleas because he has prior criminal convictions, and because of the serious nature of his actions.

— Sanne Specht

Read more in Tuesday's paper.

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