2011-02-03 / Local & State

Husband, Wife Guilty Of Burglary

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER

Believing “detailed eyewitness testimony” given on behalf of the commonwealth Friday, a jury convicted a husband and wife from the Crystal Spring area of breaking into a friend’s apartment to steal knickknacks, home decor and DVDs.

Following a lengthy deliberation, the jury found Joshua and Crystal Johnson guilty of one count each of receiving stolen property, theft by unlawful taking, criminal trespassing and burglary.

Greg Dively, a former maintenance man, testified during the joint trial that he oversaw a total of five properties for landlord Walter King in May 2010. Among those locations was a group of apartments above the Crystal Spring Post Office and Bill and Ben’s Bar, where burglary victim Kelly Snyder resided; apartments located behind an adjacent house where the Johnsons lived; and the old Motel 70 behind Fischer’s Garage, which burglary accomplice Heather Teeter called home.

Dively reported the apartment manager received a telephone call toward the end of May 2010 there was a cat in Snyder’s apartment. The two investigated only to learn it was a false report. He returned to the apartment days later at the request of Snyder to assist Snyder’s cousin and former roommate, Jessica Kalfas, with packing up Snyder’s belongings. Snyder, according to reports, was living with family after having completed rehab and needed her items placed in storage by June 1.

When he returned to the apartment, Dively said he noticed the doorjamb was pried loose; a picture was missing from a wall; and an empty soda can had appeared on a table.

In taking the stand, Kalfas also testified on the condition of Snyder’s apartment. She said it was “hectic” in the apartment, and she noted several items were missing from the walls. Later that day, Kalfas said she hung out with friend Heather Teeter, who allowed her to use a cellphone to access her MySpace account. Kalfas said a text message came over Teeter’s phone from Joshua and Crystal Johnson stating, “No one knows we did it.”

The message also reportedly asked Teeter for Snyder’s storage unit number as the Johnsons wanted a wooden table that was stored there. Kalfas didn’t mention seeing the incoming message to Teeter.

Kalfas concluded her son spotted some of Snyder’s missing belongings in a storage area used by Teeter when he went to retrieve his bicycle.

Snyder told the court among the items taken was a country star wreath, various home decor items, dishes, a DVD player and 20 to 30 DVDs. An investigation spearheaded by Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Gary Hibner led to the recovery of the decorations and approximately seven DVDs.

Hibner stated the Johnsons gave him consent to search their apartment during the early morning hours on June 3. A DVD player was found matching the description Snyder had provided, but, due to the device’s serial number not being recorded, the trooper was unable to confirm the equipment belonged to Snyder. No other items were found in the apartment linking the couple to the break-in.

Burglary accomplice Teeter testified after having wrapped up her shift at Howard Johnson’s in Breezewood, she arrived at the Johnsons’ apartment at approximately midnight the last Thursday or Friday in May. She said it was mentioned during that evening Snyder owned Crystal Johnson’s mother $200. The group snatched up some black garbage bags and proceeded to Snyder’s apartment, where Joshua Johnson tried to gain entry through a second-story window. Later having pried the doorjamb loose with his hands, Joshua Johnson slid a card through the apartment’s door to gain access. After loading up three bags into the back of Teeter’s truck, Teeter dropped off the Johnsons at their apartment and proceeded to her residence at the old Motel 70.

She placed her stolen booty in a room adjacent to her apartment that she used for storage. The following day, she prominently displayed Snyder’s country star wreath on her front door.

Not long after, she received a “Call me 911” text message from the Johnsons. Unsure what the message meant, she deleted it and therefore failed to show it to Hibner upon his arrival.

The Johnsons did not speak on their behalf during the joint trial nor was any evidence offered on behalf of the defense by attorneys Todd Sponseller and Tamela Bard. In their separate closing statements, the duo alluded to the absence of physical evidence, inconsistent testimony on what was taken and an accomplice who only testified to save herself.

Wilson found not guilty

Last Tuesday, a jury rendered a not-guilty verdict for Needmore resident Joshua Isaac Wilson, who was charged with misdemeanor and felony counts of burglary, criminal trespassing, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and aggravated assault.

Wilson was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police in Mc- Connellsburg following an alleged incident that occurred on May 8 at a camper owned by Tabitha Mellott. Wilson was accused of entering through the front door of the unlocked camper, which was occupied by a sleeping Mellott and Joshua Weaver. While inside the camper, Wilson allegedly struck Weaver in the head several times with a metal pipe, causing injuries. The same pipe was used to break a window.

Testifying during the one-day jury trial were Mellott, Weaver, Zachery Earley and Hibner. No evidence or testimony was given on behalf of the defense, which was represented by attorney Eric Weisbrod.

While a jury found the 27-yearold man not guilty of all five counts, president Judge Douglas W. Herman determined Wilson was indeed guilty of one summary count of harassment but not guilty of summary mischief. Herman accordingly sentenced Wilson to complete between 45 and 90 days in the Franklin County Prison. He was granted time previously served and paroled effective immediately. Wilson will also pay $300 in fines.

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