Court documents outline more details in firearms arrest

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By MARISSA DECHANT – Staff writer

More details have emerged from court documents in the case of a Franklin man who is facing firearms charges.

A criminal complaint filed through district judge Patrick Lowrey’s office says Franklin state police were dispatched to a Plum Drive residence in Cranberry Township Tuesday afternoon to assist the Venango County sheriff’s office with serving a protection from abuse order on 50-year-old Mark Burkett.

As part of the order, the sheriff’s office was to evict Burkett from the residence and seize all firearms, the complaint said.

No one was at the residence when police arrived, and sheriff’s deputies entered the home with prior written consent from the plaintiff in the PFA, the complaint said.

They conducted a search for weapons and found two shotguns, six rifles in a gun cabinet and one pistol in a dresser drawer, the complaint said.

The firearms were all located in a back bedroom, and other items found there confirmed it was Burkett’s room, the complaint said.

Officers also found in plain view containers, a smoking pipe and a metal grinder that all carried an odor of marijuana, the complaint said. One of the containers had a small amount of marijuana inside it, the complaint said.

Police ran a criminal history check on Burkett and found he is a convicted felon and isn’t permitted to possess firearms, the complaint said.

Burkett was later found walking toward his house and was taken into custody, the complaint said.

He stated the firearms had been in his house for some time and that they belonged to his mother, the complaint said.

Burkett is facing nine felony charges of possession of firearm prohibited in addition to a misdemeanor count of marijuana and five counts of use/possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was arraigned before Lowrey and placed in the Venango County jail on $50,000 bail.

A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday in Central Court.