Fewer sentencing breaks for criminal with guns: I-Team

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CLEVELAND-- The FOX 8 I-Team found it just got harder for suspects in gun cases to stay out of prison in Cuyahoga County.

We’ve learned the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office has a new policy putting strict limits on plea bargains for concealed weapons charges, felons with guns and more.

Last year, the I-Team found many convicts in the county got probation for some gun crimes. We reviewed 90 cases from 2014. The cases included carrying a concealed weapon, having a weapon as a felon or improper handling of a gun. About half of the suspects we checked got probation.

The new policy from prosecutor Tim McGinty says every gun must be sent to a lab to be checked for ties to other cases. That hasn’t always happened.

All of this is encouraging to the family of Stephen Halton, Jr. Back in 2014, someone robbed him and shot him to death as he headed to work. The crime has never been solved.

“We can’t bring my brother back. But anything we can do to allow another family not to go through this, the pain and agony we have felt now two years later, is amazing," his sister, Tanesha Halton, said.

A new county prosecutor will be taking over in a matter of months and that is likely to be Michael O’Malley. Through a spokesman he said he had not yet seen the new policy. So it’s unclear how much of it will carry on when he takes office.

The Halton family is anxious for the increase in gun testing to spark a break in the murder mystery.

“Anything that, hopefully, will bring our case to an end, and hopefully it does.”

If you know anything that could help solve Stephen Halton's murder call Crime Stoppers at 216-252-7463. You could get a reward.