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N.J. woman admits lying to get gun to kill trooper

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N.J. woman admits lying to get gun used to kill trooper

A New Jersey woman admitted in federal district court Wednesday that she lied on a firearms-purchase application when she bought a handgun that was used nine days later to kill a Pennsylvania state trooper.

The woman, Emily Joy Gross, 25, of Westfield, bought the Taurus 9 mm pistol and box of ammo on May 29, 2009. Her then-boyfriend, Daniel Autenrieth, used the gun to kill Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Joshua Miller during a high-speed chase and subsequent shootout in Monroe County on June 7, 2009.

In a plea deal worked out with federal prosecutors, Gross pleaded guilty to making false statements to a federal firearms dealer and will serve five years' probation, with the first year to be served under house arrest.

The deal must still be approved by U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones II, who deferred ruling on the deal pending a presentence investigation report and sentencing. Gross is to be sentenced on May 2. (Under federal sentencing guidelines, the judge officially decides sentences.)

Organizations representing state troopers, who have criticized the plea deal and wanted the case to go to trial, may still get an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed deal before Jones imposes a sentence.

After Gross, who said on the firearms application that she lived at Autenrieth's Easton address, purchased the Taurus handgun for $390 and ammo for $14 at an outdoors store in Hamburg on May 29, 2009, she brought it back to his house, the plea memo said.

Autenrieth told her that he would get a gun-cleaning kit and teach her how to clean the gun the next day. They put the gun in the laundry room in a box on a high shelf and Gross went home to New Jersey, leaving the gun at Autenrieth's house.

The feds said that they had "no evidence" that Gross knew that Autenrieth was going to use the handgun in a crime, much less kill a state trooper.

Before the shootout, Autenrieth attempted to kidnap his son from his ex-wife, then crashed his car while fleeing from troopers in a high-speed chase. Autenrieth was killed in the subsequent shootout. (The boy was not harmed but another trooper was seriously wounded in the shootout.)

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