GREENSBURG, Pa. - State Sen. Robert Regola will stand trial on perjury and weapons charges stemming from the death of a 14-year-old neighbor who shot himself in the head with the senator's handgun.
Authorities have charged Regola with lying under oath at a coroner's inquest into the death of Louis Farrell, who was friends with Regola's son Bobby, now 17. On the day before he was found dead in the woods behind their homes last July, Farrell had a key to the Regola home so he could tend to the lawmaker's pets when the senator was away.
Regola stored his handgun in Bobby's bedroom and lied under oath about doing so, authorities said.
Yesterday, Magisterial District Judge James Albert ruled after a preliminary hearing that there was enough evidence for Regola to stand trial on charges of perjury, false swearing, reckless endangerment, and illegal possession of a weapon by a minor.
Regola, 44, a freshman Republican from Westmoreland County, repeatedly has denied wrongdoing and said he kept his 9mm Taurus handgun safely stored in his bedroom.
A coroner ruled Farrell's death a suicide, but his family disputes that. They believe he was with Bobby Regola when he was shot accidentally in the woods behind their homes. Authorities have never specified how they believe Farrell came to use the senator's gun.
Bobby Regola also is charged with illegal possession of a weapon by a minor. Because that charge was filed in juvenile court, the file and any proceedings are not public.