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South Buffalo man convicted after firing gun he had in his pants

Peter J. Kohler’s friends are willing to do a lot for him, but there are limits.

That’s why a friend held a party for his birthday last year on Feb. 19. But Kohler, already on probation for a prior weapons conviction, brought a gun to the party, and after becoming intoxicated, he accidentally fired it in his pants.

To avoid more trouble, a friend took away the weapon– a .22-caliber revolver – before walking Kohler to his home on Hopkins Street in South Buffalo.

The gesture backfired when they were stopped by police and the friend was charged with weapon possession and Kohler wasn’t. However, Buffalo Police investigated, and DNA results and other evidence led a grand jury to charge Kohler instead.

By the time the case went to trial last week in State Supreme Court, jurors were able to hear recorded telephone conversations in which Kohler tries to bribe his friend to take the fall for him. The friend passed on the offer, and the jury convicted Kohler of second degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class C felony.

Sentencing is set before Justice Christopher Burns on Feb. 26.