A purportedly stolen cell phone, a Craigslist ad and a gun added up to paralysis for a Somerton man and years in prison for a father and son from Bucks County, a city prosecutor said.
Common Pleas Court Judge Carolyn Nichols on Sept. 9 ordered Gregory Spector, 24, to serve 17 to 35 years in state prison, and his father, Lonnie Spector, 47, to serve 18 months to three years for the July 21, 2013, shooting that rendered 21-year-old Sardor Bolyaganov a paraplegic.
The gunfire erupted on the 10100 block of Ferndale St. as the Spectors argued with Bolyaganov over the private sale of a cell phone, said Assistant District Attorney Yvonne Heard.
Bolyaganov, a Uzbekistan citizen who was in the United States on a student visa, had previously bought a used cell phone only to learn that his SIM card did not fit into the device, so he posted an ad on Craigslist to sell it. Gregory Spector responded to the ad, met Bolyaganov in Somerton and paid the seller $280 for the phone.
When Gregory Spector got the phone activated, it kept failing. So he contacted his service provider, who told him the phone had been reported stolen.
Gregory Spector contacted Bolyaganov, who agreed to return $200 to the purchaser. He had already spent the other $80, Heard said. The two arranged another meeting in Somerton. In advance, Gregory Spector notified police in Bucks County about the purportedly stolen phone. Bucks police had arranged for Philadelphia police to meet Spector at a gas station near where he was supposed to meet Bolyaganov. Lonnie Spector accompanied his son.
While waiting for Philly police to show up, the Spectors became impatient and went to meet Bolyaganov without the cops. Gregory Spector refused to return the phone without the full $280 reimbursement. Lonnie Spector claimed that he and his son were undercover police, leading to a physical fight.
Bolyaganov broke Gregory’s nose and had Lonnie pinned against a car, Heard said. That’s when Gregory pulled a gun and shot Bolyaganov in the back. Bolyaganov’s wife witnessed the encounter.
The Spectors called police and waited for them to arrive, claiming that the shooting was justified. Lonnie was also armed with a handgun. Both Spectors were licensed to carry, Heard said.
In April, a jury found Gregory guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault, robbery and conspiracy, while finding Lonnie guilty of theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.
Bolyaganov was not charged with wrongdoing in connection with the purportedly stolen phone because no one had ever reported a theft to police, despite the service provider’s claim. ••