After some procedural wrangling, Raymond Buso entered a plea of “sufficient facts,” meaning he admitted that there are enough facts to convict him had the case gone to trial.
After taking three signs that advertised for Cynthia Weaver’s shop this summer, Buso was charged with three counts of vandalism and three felony charges that carry a three-year sentence and larceny of property under $250.
During the hearing, in which six character witnesses testified on his behalf, Buso said he stole the signs after a series of incidents, including one in which Weaver allegedly prevented Buso’s son from performing a magic show in front of her shop by calling the police. (Weaver denied that claim after the hearing.)
Buso also said he was upset with Weaver because another shop owner told him Weaver stole that owner's signs. Finally, Buso said he injured his hand on one of Weaver’s sign’s while walking past it with a handful of cardboard.
Buso said had he known how much emotional distress the incident would cause Weaver he would not have done it.
“I was angry and I took it,” he said after apologizing to Weaver. “It was anger and a lack of judgment on my part.”
Buso, who in August pleaded not guilty to three charges of intimidating Weaver, will have to continue to adhere to a court order that prevents him from going within 50 yards from the shop or from Weaver. He also has to stay off the downtown pedestrian mall on which Weaver’s shop is located.
Buso got his day in Salem District court today after the hearing was postponed on two other occasions because an impartial judge could not be brought in to sit on Salem's bench. Judge David P.Despotpulos, who usually sits in Worcester District Court, heard the case.
Weaver, who also testified today, was disappointed in the outcome.
“I don’t believe for one second he cares at all about me,” Weaver said after the hearing. “He knew exactly what he was doing.”
Justin A. Rice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.