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Trainer caught with semi-auto gun on Route 46 gets eight years

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: A routine stop on Route 46 in Ridgefield Park is sending a Union County physical trainer to prison for at least four years for carrying a gun as a convicted felon.

“He knew he should not have possessed the weapon, which is illegal under state law,” Superior Court Judge James J. Guida said, while sentencing 40-year-old Tarshon Awkward to an eight-year term in Hackensack today.

Superior Court Judge James J. Guida (CLIFFVIEW PILOT PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia)

Awkward won’t be eligible for parole for at least four years, under the terms of his plea agreement with prosecutors.

Awkward consented to a search of his vehicle after the officer who stopped him in December 2010 said he smelled raw marijuana.

Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Susan O’Donnell Voorman said the officer found pot and a .45-caliber Hi-Point semiautomatic handgun.

Although he apparently has stayed out of trouble more than 16 years, Awkward has a criminal history of 17 adult arrests and four prior convictions, Guida said.

Awkward insisted he should’ve gotten a better deal, considering how long he’s been on the right path, his steady work as a trainer and his role in caring for his mother, who had a leg amputated and is in poor health.

Considering Awkward’s record, O’Donnell Voorman countered, the agreement is reasonable.

STORY, PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia

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