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School Groundskeeper Denies Charges From Arsenal in Home

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A school groundskeeper pleaded not guilty Monday to more than two dozen weapon violations in connection with a cache of guns found at his San Clemente home.

Law enforcement officers entered Jerry Peacock’s home to determine whether he had stolen property from the Capistrano Unified School District. But an investigation into the 80 weapons officials subsequently found in his home led prosecutors to file 27 weapons-related charges against him.

Peacock was charged with 11 counts of possessing assault weapons, eight counts of possessing machine guns and eight counts of possessing short-barreled shotguns or rifles. His possession of the weapons was deemed illegal because some of the weapons were not properly registered to him, or were illegally modified, officials said.

“None of the weapons were registered to him,” said Tori Richards, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney’s office.

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Peacock, 43, has also been charged with one count of receiving stolen school property.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Peacock’s attorney, Gary Pohlson, contends that his client is a weapons collector who was targeted by the school district after officials lost a $215,000 sexual harassment suit that he and two co-workers filed in 1997.

School district officials tipped off deputies last week, alleging that Peacock had stolen two ladders, work boots and other gardening items from the district, officials said.

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School officials also told deputies about Peacock’s gun collection, district Supt. James A. Fleming said.

Peacock was arrested Wednesday when deputies raided his home and found eight machine guns, dozens of military-style rifles, several World War II-vintage carbines and 50,000 rounds of ammunition in what they described as one of Orange County’s biggest weapons busts.


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