NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A federal judge on Thursday sentenced two men to prison for their roles in the case of a van that some say was rigged to kill.
One of the men had a criminal past and got a heftier sentence.
Joseph Gagliano and Dominick Gullo brought a lot of friends to court as Judge Eldon Fallon imposed sentences in the so-called "sniper van"case. The van was rigged with makeshift windows, sawed-off chairs, a semi-automatic rifle and a silencer.
Two nuns testified on Gagliano's behalf, asking the judge for leniency and saying he had a good heart.
But prosecutor Jay Quinlan, countered, saying, "The Jefferson Parish deputy fortuitously pulled that car over," adding, "there was something afoot that night."
"It's obviously pure speculation on their part," said Gagliano attorney Pat Fanning. "The evidence showed he had the van for months before then, so I don't know what was so magical about that night."
That night was in July of last year, when a deputy pulled the van over off Metairie Road after the license plate was flagged by a special camera.
Gagliano was sentenced to 28 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a gun. Gullo got five months in prison because he had no prior arrests. Judge Fallon admonished Gullo to be careful in the future, saying "Friends are like an elevator, they can take you, up or down."
"I think it's a pretty garden variety guy who had a problem in the past who had a gun he wasn't supposed to have - that's all," Fanning said.
Though there's been much speculation about what the van was to be used for, no motive or plot was ever established.
"I told the FBI, how do you know he wasn't selling snowballs? A lot of vans have windows in them," Fanning said.
Judge Fallon gave both men credit for time served, meaning they will each have four months slashed from the sentences he gave them.