Tech professor staged shooting

IT entrepreneur, author and former Massachusetts Institute of Technology academic shot himself in a family feud then blamed hitmen, a US court finds

A former technology academic and entrepreneur has been found guilty by a Massachusetts court of staging his own shooting.

John J Donovan Snr had alleged that in December 2005 he was the victim of an assassination attempt by Russian hitmen in the parking lot of his offices.

Finding Donovan guilty of filing a false police report, Judge Kenneth Fishman is reported as saying his claims were "nothing short of bizarre and premeditated".

Fishman then sentenced Donovan to 200 hours of community service, two years' probation, a fine and a psychological evaluation, and ordered him to stay away from his oldest son, three daughters and their families. Donovan is reported to have been involved in a long-running family dispute over his fortune.

Donovan was an engineering and management professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) between 1969 and 1997. He was also a founder of Cambridge Technology Partners, the computer services firm bought by Novell in 2001, and he is said to have amassed over $100m (£50m) through his business dealings, writing and speaking engagements.

Prosecutors had argued that, far from being the victim of a hit, Donovan had in fact shot himself in the side after previously pointing a surveillance camera away from the scene to avoid recording the incident.