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A Buffalo man was sentenced Monday to 3½ years in prison for having an unregistered gun, despite his initial claim that he had found the loaded pistol and was planning to turn it over to a clergyman when police stopped him.

Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio imposed the minimum prison term on Anthony Taylor Jr., 21.

He had pleaded guilty as charged last month to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana in connection with his arrest Dec. 19, 2012 with the .25-caliber automatic pistol.

Taylor, who has no previous criminal convictions, had faced a maximum 15-year sentence.

Taylor initially went to trial on the charges last November. His aunt testified that he had found the pistol and was planning to give it to the clergyman when police arrested him. The case ended in a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict; most jurors favored a conviction, according to prosecutors.

After the mistrial, with Taylor facing a retrial May 19, prosecutors located the clergyman who they said debunked the defendant’s story. The clergyman denied in an affidavit that he knew Taylor, prosecutors said.

The minister also said that when Taylor’s aunt asked him after the mistrial to go along with their story about the “found” gun and Taylor’s plans to turn it over to him, he refused, according to prosecutors.

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