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Grand Forks man charged in Herald shotgun case pleads not guilty

GRAND FORKS - A Grand Forks man accused of hiding a shotgun in the Herald's downtown building entered not guilty pleas Wednesday in state District Court.

Philip Manaigre, 23, is charged with disorderly conduct, a Class A misdemeanor, and illegal possession of a firearm, a Class C felony.

Both charges stem from the discovery of the gun -- a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun that was loaded with slugs and had a pistol grip, a short barrel and no shoulder stock. Herald employees found the gun Feb. 22 stashed in a pillowcase inside a cabinet.

Manaigre worked for a custodial firm contracted to clean the Herald's building at night. Police said Manaigre admitted to stowing the gun in the cabinet, saying it was for self-defense because of a personal dispute with people outside the Herald.

Police said Manaigre told them the janitorial company transferred him from working at the Herald in December, and that he never retrieved the shotgun because he forgot he left it there.

Following a six-hour standoff March 3, officers forced their way into Manaigre's home in south Grand Forks and arrested him. He was released from jail March 4 on $3,000 bail.

Manaigre was charged with illegal possession of a firearm because he was convicted of misdemeanor reckless endangerment in 2008 for firing a pistol inside a Grand Forks home. Prosecutors say it's a felony for Manaigre to have a firearm within five years of such a conviction.

Illegal possession of a firearm has a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Disorderly conduct carries a maximum of a year behind bars and a $2,000 fine.