PLATTSBURGH — A Peru man accused of shooting his own son in the head withdrew his guilty plea Monday as the judge was about to impose sentence.

Bruce A. Bonville, 51, is charged with shooting his then-16-year-old son, Cory, in the head with a .40-caliber pistol last summer during a domestic dispute at their home.

Bonville was set to be sentenced to three years in jail under a plea agreement with the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office.

But Judge Timothy Lawliss disagreed with the sentence recommendation, saying he felt a harsher sentence should be imposed.

Lawliss felt information in the pre-sentencing report showed a need for a more severe sentence.

The second-degree assault charge to which Bonville pleaded could yield a sentence of up to seven years.

Lawliss pointed to where Bonville apparently said that he should have shot Cory in the leg instead of the head.

The judge said that statement spoke to Bonville’s ability to aim the gun at the time of the dispute.

Bonville had maintained that the gun went off accidentally during a struggle.

Lawliss said he was also concerned about a statement Bonville had made indicating that his wife, Anita L. Bonville, was having sex with Cory.

“If that is true or not, it reflects horribly on his character,” the judge said.

Bonville, sitting in black-and-white-striped prison garb and shackled at the hands, waist and feet, said “It’s my house,” as Lawliss spoke.

Lawliss told Bonville’s attorney, William Meconi, that his client had the option of withdrawing the guilty plea, since the judge was going to impose a harsher sentence.

After a brief recess, Meconi told the judge Bonville would indeed withdraw his guilty plea.

The court must decide if the original full indictment, which included charges of attempted murder and first- and second-degree assault, will be reinstated.

Meconi has until May 21 to file his motions in the case. In court Monday, Meconi said he felt the second-degree-assault charge, which Bonville pleaded to, should be litigated.

District Attorney Andrew Wylie said he would respond to Meconi’s motions by May 28.

Wylie said he felt the judge was correct in wishing to impose a harsher sentence.

“Initially, we agreed to the deal because Mr. Bonville was going to accept responsibility for shooting his son,” Wylie said.

“We thought he was sincere, but based on the review of the pre-sentencing report, that didn’t play out.”

Bonville was taken back to the Clinton County Jail, where he has been since he was arrested.

E-mail Joe LoTemplio at

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