2011-01-20 / Local & State

Bowman, Newton Appear In Criminal Court

Dale Newton enters plea, then asks for trial
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER

Two men from southern Fulton County appeared in Fulton County Court of Common Pleas Tuesday for mandatory arraignment of criminal charges with one of the individuals entering a guilty plea, but then asking for a trial after becoming clearly frustrated toward the conclusion of hearing.

Dale Arnold Newton of 15427 Buck Valley Road, Apt. 4, Warfordsburg, initially appeared before Judge Angela Rosenberry Krom on January 18 to enter a plea of guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of children. Additional charges against Newton, 25, include six counts of simple assault; two counts each of aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person; and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

In providing Judge Krom with details outlining the case, Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall pointed out Newton was a caregiver for a 2-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl at various times between August and October 21, 2010. In what Kendall referred to as “some misguided attempt to provide discipline,” Newton allegedly struck the siblings with a broken wooden yardstick and his hand. He also maintained Newton is accused of “lifting the boy and flinging him around by his ears.”

While the marks left on the children were significant but did not include lacerations or broken bones, Kendall said it may not rise to the charges of aggravated assault. The district attorney also stated, depending on jury members, a yardstick may or may not be considered a deadly weapon.

Kendall concluded the guilty plea to two counts of endangering the welfare of children was arranged during a prior preliminary hearing. Those consulted in the agreement were the children’s mother and Services for Children officials.

In speaking on his behalf, Newton, who remains remains incarcerated in the Franklin County Prison in lieu of $150,000 bail, stated he was “well aware” of what constitutes endangering the welfare of a child. He admitted he spanked the children, although he said it was their mother who used a wooden paddle.

“I think I violated the duty of care by not doing things I should have done,” stated Newton. “In looking back, I wasn’t in a position to be doing this.”

The district attorney reminded the court he had photo documentation of the injuries and marks the children sustained. The admission of guilt on Newton’s part didn’t sufficiently show that he was taking responsibility for the injuries, Kendall repeatedly told the court.

The 2-year-old male suffered “fresh bruising to both ears and his face” and also had several older bruises on his face, lower back, chest and biceps, an affidavit of probable cause indicates. His groin area was also swollen from recent physical injury, the charging documents state. In addition, documents show the girl suffered recent bruising on her legs and buttocks and an apparent recent bruise to her head and forehead.

Fulton County Public Defender Tamela Bard reiterated throughout Tuesday’s mandatory arraignment her client was unable to confirm that the injuries observed on October 21 were specifically caused by him. Bard also noted that an investigation launched by Services for Children reportedly determined that some of the marks on the children were caused by their mother. Furthermore, the children were moving out-of-state to reside with their father.

Getting increasingly frustrated at the ongoing questioning, Newton said he didn’t even spank the children that day and was unsure of what else more he could say.

“I didn’t leave a bruise on either of those kids ... I’m done. Let’s go to a trial,” said Newton, before going back to the holding room for prisoners.

Meanwhile, Melvin Joseph Bowman Jr. of Needmore appeared briefly before Judge Krom to enter a not-guilty plea to all charges filed in connection with the death of William Myrle Trail, also of Needmore. Charges currently filed against the 27-year-old man include homicide by vehicle, driving on roadways laned for traffic, reckless and careless driving and restraint systems.

Bowman, who is represented by defense attorney David Keller, was arrested after his northbound 2000 Chevrolet Lumina allegedly crossed the roadway and struck an oncoming 1990 Nissan truck operated by Trail on June 10, 2010.

The 2:45 p.m. collision along Thompson Road occurred within close proximity to both Bowman and Trail’s homes located in Thompson Township.

Bowman shared with investigating officer Pennsylvania State Police Trooper James Lupey he was driving on “limited sleep” from the night before and had been working since 5:30 a.m. that day.

His shift at Redland Brick in Williamsport, Md., had ended at 2 p.m., charging documents state.

Bowman added in his discussions with Trooper Lupey he had “nodded off” at the wheel. He reportedly woke just seconds before crashing into Trail’s truck just south of the intersection of Frank Road. The collision caused Bowman’s car to turn sideways and roll onto its roof.

Trail, who was also not wearing a seat belt and did not have airbags in his vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene of blunt force trauma by Fulton County Deputy Coroner Darrin Smith.

An eyewitness informed state police investigators she allegedly saw Bowman’s car drift back and forth from its lane. The speed of his vehicle also varied at times.

Bowman is slated to appear in court on April 12 for call of the list, at which time he can alter his plea or arrange for a trial by judge or jury.

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