The Los Angeles County district attorney's office on Monday dropped six of the most serious assault weapons charges against the student body president at East Los Angeles College after federal officials advised that some of the firearms recently found at his Monterey Park home were legal.
Matthew Corwin, 23, was arrested April 30 on suspicion of a variety of weapons violations and possession of stolen property two weeks after the massacre at Virginia Tech, after students and faculty members sent sheriff's officials Corwin's MySpace page address. The Web page showed him dressed in fatigues and holding various weapons.
Corwin was originally charged with five counts of unlawful assault-weapon sales, four counts of unlawful possession of assault weapons, two counts of possession of a deadly weapon and one count of receiving stolen property. But prosecutors dismissed half their case Monday.
"After further investigation by the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] they determined that the Browning machine .30-caliber was lawful. So we dismissed six counts today," said Jane Robison, the district attorney's spokeswoman.
"The remaining six counts will be prosecuted," she added.
Chuck Michel, Corwin's attorney, said his client was targeted in a post-Virginia Tech environment.
"The only thing he is guilty of is indiscretion and bad timing," Michel said.
Michel said Corwin is a student but also an injured one-time military police officer once assigned to dignitary protection who had planned to return to active duty as an Army investigator.
Michel said Corwin had expected to be reactivated as part of the Army's investigations division and be sent to Iraq as soon as this month.
Inside Corwin's home last month, detectives found a military ID, a bulletproof vest, a military-issue chemical weapons suit, a throwing knife and several military-style rifles.
But Michel, an attorney known for his 2nd Amendment work, said most of remaining gun charges involve whether a detachable magazine is legal on certain types of weapons and whether a four-bladed knife and gloves with weights amount to illegal deadly weapons.
Michel said Corwin never received any stolen property from the military.
Corwin has served as associate student body president at the college since last fall after leading the campus' 2nd Amendment Club.
A judge on Monday reduced Corwin's bail from $365,000 to $120,000. But as of Monday evening he remained in custody.