2011-01-13 / Local & State

Trials Scheduled During Call Of List

Guilty pleas accepted, continuances granted
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Two criminal trials were scheduled and several guilty pleas accepted Tuesday morning during call of the list presided over by Judge Douglas Herman, president judge of the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas.

Joshua Isaac Wilson of Needmore appeared in court and continued to maintain a not-guilty plea to charges filed on June 3, 2010, that include burglary, criminal trespassing, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, harassment and criminal mischief. Represented by defense attorney Eric Weisbrod, details of the case show Wilson is accused of using a pipe as a weapon during an assault.

Scheduled to appear as witnesses on behalf of the commonwealth’s case are Joshua Weaver, Tabatha Mellott, Zachary Earley and Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Gary Hibner. Wilson’s jury trial has been scheduled for January 25.

Bradley Sweger of Waterfall will also be heading to trial after refusing a plea agreement offered by Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall for five years probation in connection with a misdemeanor count of terroristic threats. As a result, Sweger’s trial by jury has been tentatively set for February 9-10. Current charges against Sweger include terroristic threats, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.

Those slated to offer testimony during the two-day trial are Edena Defibaugh, Robert Baughman, Samuel Bradley, attorney Jeff Evans and possibly a state police representative, who will help confirm ownership of a handgun in connection with the instant check system. Sweger is represented in court proceedings by the law office of attorney Erin Zimmerer.

Waynesboro resident Matthew Provard entered a plea of guilty to one count of burglary, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. In speaking with the judge regarding his plea, Provard admitted he possessed the proper access codes to gain entry to a communications tower site. Once inside the building, Provard said he stole several rolls of copper wire, which he recycled and received monetary compensation for. Provard, represented by Fulton County Public Defender Tamela Bard, will be sentenced on March 1.

Michael Collins of McConnellsburg will be sentenced on March 15 after having entered a plea of guilty to two counts of delivery of a controlled substance. The counts stem from separate incidents dating back to December 7 and December 21, 2009, where Collins admitted to selling crack cocaine to a confidential informant.

The amount sold during the transactions were recorded at 1.3 grams and 2.4 grams.

Items to be taken into consideration during sentencing in March will be issues related to drug trafficking and selling drugs in a school zone. The maximum combined penalty for the two counts of delivery of a controlled substance is 20 years in prison and $200,000 in fines.

Two additional drug-related cases against Collins were dismissed in exchange for the pleas.

McConnellsburg resident Angel Lopez-Nunez appeared with attorney Dwight Harvey Tuesday morning for entry of a plea of guilty to one count of driving under the influence (highest rate of blood alcohol content). Lopez-Nunez, according to District Attorney Kendall, possesses a “significant” prior record, which could play a factor in his sentencing scheduled for a later date.

Kelly Jo Discher of Oldtown, Md., pleaded guilty to one count of criminal trespassing in connection with an incident that occurred in the southern end of Fulton County. Discher told the court she walked onto the porch of a trailer and knocked on the screen door. When the door opened, Discher said she stooped over and held out her arms so she could retrieve her dog. Questions were raised in court to as whether Discher actually broke the plane of the doorway to constitute the charge of trespassing. She will be sentenced on February 22.

Accused of criminal homicide and endangering the welfare of children, Shane Douglas Pittman of Needmore was granted a continuance as requested by defense attorney Harvey. Harvey made mention of the necessity for additional funding to secure the services of an expert witness for the impending trial that could be held during the month of May.

Charges against Pittman stem from an episode that occurred on December 2, 2009, at a Black Foot Drive, McConnellsburg home. Pittman allegedly violently grabbed his girlfriend’s toddler and dropped her into a dry bath tub after the little girl spit up rainbow sherbet on her pajamas that morning. While carrying the girl to the bathroom, her head and neck reportedly snapped back and forth an estimated 10 times, said state police in charging documents.

An autopsy completed at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown revealed the girl’s death was a direct result of severe hemorrhaging at the base of her neck, a whiplash-type injury to her upper spine/neck and blunt force trauma to the brain.

Individuals granted continuances during the morning session of call of the list are Heather Teeters, Matthew Deller, Daniel Flowers, Susan Naugle and William Hann.

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