April 28, 2006
Marine to change plea in shooting

Sgt. Daniel Cotnoir, a Massachusetts Reserve Marine in accused of firing a shotgun into a crowd of late-night revelers outside his home, wounding two people, made plans to change his plea in the case, according to a letter submitted to the court by his lawyer. The letter did not indicate what the plea change would be.

Cotnoir, a reserve small-arms repairman with 4th Maintenance Battalion, Devens, Mass., was originally charged with attempted murder after he allegedly fired a single shot out the window of his second-floor apartment into a crowd of people leaving nearby nightclubs in August of last year.

A grand jury reduced the charges to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and discharging a shotgun within 500 feet of a building. In December, he pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Marine Corps Times named Cotnoir “Marine of the Year” in July 2005.

During his deployment to Iraq in 2004, Cotnoir worked as a mortuary affairs specialist, an assignment that stemmed from his civilian job as a funeral home director in Lawrence, Mass.

— Staff reports