Trials Scheduled, Pleas Accepted At Call Of The List
A number of agreements were reached last Tuesday with guilty pleas being entered in a range of cases, but several continuances and trial dates were also put on the docket as a result of last Tuesday’s call of the criminal trial list.
Charged with vehicular homicide as well as a variety of summary vehicle offenses, Melvin Joseph Bowman Jr. appeared briefly before Judge Richard J. Walsh of the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas on April 12. Bowman, who is represented in court proceedings by defense attorney David Keller, pleaded guilty to one third-degree felony count of homicide by vehicle and careless driving.
The charges against the young man from Needmore stem from a two-vehicle crash on June 10, 2010, during which Bowman’s northbound 2000 Chevrolet Lumina crossed Thompson Road and collided head-on with an oncoming 1990 Nissan truck operated by William Myrl Trail, also of Needmore
Bowman was reportedly driving on “limited sleep” from the night before and had been working since 5:30 a.m. that day, he told Pennsylvania State Police investigators. His shift at Redland Brick in Williamsport, Md., had ended at 2 p.m., and the crash occurred 45 minutes later only a short distance from his home, charging documents state.
He is believed to have “nodded off” at the wheel and was awakened just seconds before crashing into Trail’s truck just south of the intersection of Frank Road.
Scott Francis D’Anna of McConnellsburg entered a “no contest” plea to harassment in connection with a case dating back to July 8, 2010, that occurred along old Route 30. An employee of Fulton County’s COPE program told state police she passed D’Anna and Ryan Jefferson on the roadway, and the duo began making hand gestures resembling a gun. She ran into the young men a second time near the intersection of Lincoln Way and Third Street where Jefferson is accused of making gang signs in her direction. D’Anna also shouted at the woman.
Fulton County Probation Officer Jodi Keefer gave a presentation to Judge Walsh regarding D’Anna’s criminal background as a juvenile. He has been incarcerated in the Franklin County for 43 days on an unrelated case of simple assault and was sentenced by the judge to three months probation for the “no contest” plea. A fine to the Fulton County Law Library was also imposed by the court.
Fort Littleton resident Nathan R. Duvall appeared in court for call of the list on charges related to the delivery and possession of a controlled substance. Duvall, 50, was charged by state police after an undercover officer allegedly made two controlled purchases of marijuana. A subsequent search of his Dublin Township home reportedly revealed two pounds of suspected marijuana in a gun storage room. Eight additional pounds of marijuana were located in the basement as well as nine marijuana plants growing in a field across from a residence, police alleged.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, undercover officers also discovered drug paraphernalia in the gun storage room as well as $1,885 in cash in a kitchen cabinet.
Defense attorney Trudy Ann Mintz was not in court last Tuesday to represent Duvall, who was granted a continuance until April 19.
A continuance was also granted in the case involving 42-year-old Needmore resident Kenneth Shawn Farley, who stands accused in three separate incidents involving harassment, terroristic threats, simple assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, recklessly endangering another person and aggravated assault. The vicdiately tim in these cases, a 42-yearold female from Hancock, Md., was allegedly struck and sexually assaulted with a pistol during one incident. Once the woman escaped, Farley barricaded himself in his trailer for a period of four hours.
Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall stated he is slated to receive DNA and serology reports back from the crime lab on April 22 in connection with the case. Depending on the outcome of the reports, Kendall said county Public Defender Tamela Bard may wish to hire experts to speak on her client’s behalf.
As a result, the case was continued until the July 25 trial term. A motion has also been made in the matter to have Farley’s bail reset. He has been in jail 140 days since the offenses occurred.
Two cases involving Daniel Brock Flowers, of Warfordsburg, were continued until the July 25 trial term. Flowers, 24, has been cited by Pennsylvania State Police in McConnellsburg for the use or possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a small amount of marijuana in the first case. Follow-up charges include smelling or inhaling toxic substances, reckless driving, careless driving, disregarding a single traffic lane and driving under the influence.
Having been granted a continuance during January’s call of the criminal trial list, William Russel Hann, of McConnellsburg appeared in court last week with newly appointed defense counselor Philip Harper. Hann was cited by state police Trooper Roger Sheffield in October 2010 with receiving stolen property and has requested a trial by jury. The trial has been scheduled for June 9 in the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas.
A bench warrant was issued for the arrest of Hancock, Md., resident Christopher Wade Hoffman, who failed to appear in court. Hoffman, 22, is charged with two counts of driving under the influence and summary offenses that include driving a vehicle at unsafe speeds, careless driving and disregarding a single traffic lane.
Woodrow “Woody” Wilson Keefer Jr. of McConnellsburg was granted a continuance until the July 25 trial term after having been accused of sexually assaulting and molesting several young boys over a five-year time frame.
The 64-year-old man is charged with six counts of rape, nine counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, three counts of unlawful contact with a minor, three counts of statutory sexual assault, 24 counts of indecent assault, four counts of indecent exposure and three counts of the corruption of minors. The charges against the 63-year-old man came to light last August after three young men ranging in age from 16 to 22 provided
Pennsylvania State Police investigators with information regarding the alleged acts that occurred between January 1999 and December 2004.
The victims claimed in interviews with state police they were “molested” by Keefer when they were younger (between the ages of 4 and 12), an affidavit of probable said. The reported incidents happened not only in a walk-in closet and a shed at the Keefer household but also in a wooded area adjacent to Keefer’s residence.
Also charged with sexually assaulting a young boy, Dennis Eugene Lane of Hustontown was granted a continuance until the July 25 trial term. Lane is specifically charged with three counts each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault; two counts of rape and one count of statutory sexual assault, indecent exposure, corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor. He has remained incarcerated in the Franklin County Prison since his arrest in November 2010.
State police in McConnellsburg began their investigation into the case on November 7, 2010, when she interviewed a 15-year-old male, who was accompanied by his parents. The ongoing interaction between Lane and the boy allegedly began when the young man and his father were enjoying a meal at Johnnie’s Diner. The boy was 11 at the time. Lane approached the duo and inquired whether the boy could come to his house in Dublin Township and help him with wood, the affidavit maintains.
When the boy reached the age of 12, police said, Lane began inappropriately touching him. On one occasion he is accused of holding the boy down.
Susan Eileen Larson of Neelyton came to court with a request to represent herself during a trial on charges of the use or possession of drug paraphernalia, following too closely, possession of a small amount of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, firearms not to be carried without license and careless driving.
The 52-year-old woman told Judge Walsh she did not want the public defender reappointed as Bard allegedly tried to get her to act as an agent for the police to make the case go away. After a prolonged discussion on the benefits of having the services of an attorney during a trial, Larson agreed to use Bard as legal counsel. Facing an aggregate sentence of nine years and seven months, Larson was granted a continuance until the July 25 trial term to give her ample time to decide on the possibility of undergoing trial.
McConnellsburg resident Rebecca Lynn Moore was given a continuance un- til the July 25 trial term on charges of delivery of a controlled substance and sale of a noncontrolled substance. The charges against Moore date back to December 17, 2008, when an undercover police officer allegedly purmonths, Larson was granted a continuance until the July 25 trial term to give her ample time to decide on the possibility of undergoing trial.
McConnellsburg resident Rebecca Lynn Moore was given a continuance until the July 25 trial term on charges of delivery of a controlled substance and sale of a noncontrolled substance. The charges against Moore date back to December 17, 2008, when an undercover police officer allegedly purchased five Methadone and 10 morphine pills in exchange for $100. After her arrest and subsequent posting of bail, Moore, 42, was taken into custody on a detainer by officers from Maryland. She has since served a sentence in a Maryland Correctional Institution, and, as a result, was unable to correspond at length with her attorney in the case, Dwight Harvey.
A trial has been scheduled for May 25 through May 27 in the case of Shane Douglas Pittman of Needmore, who faces charges of criminal homicide and endangering the welfare of a child. A special jury has been selected for the case, according to District Attorney Kendall.
Charges against Pittman were brought about in December 2009 following the tragic death of 24-month of Kylie Marie York. York was found lying on a couch in an unresponsive state by her mother, who was Pittman’s girlfriend. Kylie had been in the care of Pittman since 8 a.m. that day at the mother’s trailer located along Black Foot Drive just off Peach Orchard Road in Mc- Connellsburg.
The toddler never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead on Saturday, December 5, at 1:05 a.m. Her death has been linked to a severe hemorrhage at the base of her neck, a whiplash-type injury to her upper spine/neck and blunt force trauma to the brain.
State police said in an affidavit of probable cause, Pittman responded to the child throwing up by quickly grabbing her by the arms and running with her to bathroom.
“Pittman related that when he grabbed her by the arms her head/neck snapped back and forth (an estimated 10 times). Pittman related that he ran down the hallway, dropped her into the dry bathtub from approximately two feet and she landed on her butt and fell backwards onto her back,” the affidavit said. The girl, the report further states, cried and struggled to get up but was allegedly grabbed by the arms, waist and neck to keep her in the tub. The report concluded Kylie was bathed and clothed in clean pajamas by Pittman before being placed on the couch where she never awoke.
Walter Andrew Rasp, 34, of McConnellsburg has requested a trial jury render a verdict in his case involving driving under the influence, careless driving and disregarding a single traffic lane. The trial will be held April 28 before Judge Walsh.
The district attorney pointed out witnesses on behalf of the commonwealth will include state police troopers Jeff Remeikas and Ellis Barnett as well as Ruth Angle. The only potential witness on behalf of the defense would be Rasp, defense attorney Eric Weisbrod noted. Due to the Rasp’s refusal for blood alcohol content testing at the time of his arrest, BAC reports will not be available.
Danny Lynn Schetrompf of Warfordsburg will next appear in court for a trial on July 6 for a jury trial on charges of simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. Charges against Schetrompf were filed this year in connection with a confrontation that occurred in November 2010. According to state police reports, Schetrompf, 38, allegedly repeatedly struck a man who had been raking and burning leaves with his son outside their Crystal Spring home.
Christopher J.C. Sprigss of McConnellsburg entered a plea of guilty to possession of a controlled substance and attempted delivery of a controlled substance. A presentence investigation will be completed by the Fulton County Probation Department prior to sentencing scheduled for June 7.
Spriggs reportedly took $500 in cash from a confidential informant last October with the promise he would take the money to Harrisburg to purchase crack cocaine. Spriggs took the money but never returned with the drugs, state police said. A week later, the same informant exchanged two Oxycontin pills for $100 in cash.
Spriggs was pulled over a short time later by state police troopers. The buy money, also referred to as confidential funds, was found inside the vehicle.
Dwayne Omar Taltoan of Coatesville pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. A presentence investigation has been scheduled prior to sentencing set for August 16.
Taltoan was arrested on September 21, 2010, at a Dublin Township residence in possession of 15 pounds of marijuana. The 33-year-old man reportedly offered a confidential informant a “good deal” on one pound of marijuana if the transaction was made within a several day time frame. State police reports indicate the informant agreed to purchase 15- pounds of marijuana at a price of $1,200 per pound. bodies were deposited there earlier.)
The killer may have been seen. One witness on Long Island described seeing a frightened woman, later identified as Shannon Gilbert, scream for help outside his house before she disappeared last May, police say. The witness called the police after she ran off. Minutes later, the witness confronted a man who was looking for the woman. Gilbert remains missing. The search for her is what led police to find the bodies of the killer’s victims.
The killer has also been heard. On Friday, the family of one of the slain women revealed that the presumed killer had called them seven times using her cellphone.
“The fact that he called the family was because he felt he could,” says Fox. “The fact that he didn’t use his own cellphone, but the victim’s, means he’s got to have a certain degree or street smarts or cunning. Since one of the victims was abducted two years ago, he can be pretty smug right now about his ability to evade apprehension.”
But as in the case of Joel Rifkin, a Long Island resident who killed at least nine prostitutes in New York City between 1989 and 1993, serial killers are often caught on a fluke or a small blunder. In Rifkin’s case, his car’s license plate fell off, leading to a police chase in 1993, after which he was apprehended. In the case of famous serial killer Theodore Bundy, he began to act erratically and was finally caught while driving a stolen Volkswagen van.
Local police say they have made some headway. Last week, they combed a laptop belonging to a pimp who knew Megan Waterman, one of the victims. They have also questioned guests at a hotel in Hauppage, N.Y., from where she disappeared after traveling there to meet clients for sex.
Without much physical evidence to go on, it’s crucial for police to flush out any surviving victims who may be scared to come forward.
“The No. 1 way serial killers are apprehended is by a surviving victim,” Louis Schlesinger, a forensic psychologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, tells Time. “Especially early on in a killing series, where the offender has not yet perfected this technique ... somebody may survive.”