2012-01-12 / Front Page

Woman Jailed In Attempted Ayr Twp. Murder

Victim to be discharged from hospital later this week
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Sarah Sipes Sarah Sipes The victim of an attempted homicide is expected to be released from a trauma center in York, Pa., later this week, Pennsylvania State Police from the McConnellsburg barracks said.

Forty-year-old John Russell Garland, of McConnellsburg, was airlifted from the scene in Ayr Township late Saturday night after he was shot in the groin/thigh area by his pregnant girlfriend Sarah Lynn Sipes, of Hancock, Md. Listed in critical condition at that time due to significant blood loss, Garland reportedly underwent emergency surgery following his arrival.

On Monday, the “News” learned Garland was anticipated to be taken off a respirator and released in several days. He is expected to make “full recovery,” police said.

Meanwhile, Sipes, 25, is being held in the Franklin County Prison in lieu of $250,000 straight bail while awaiting her preliminary hearing on Wednesday, January 18. Charges against Sipes include one count each of criminal attempt homicide, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person; and two counts each of aggravated assault and simple assault.

State police were alerted to the shooting at the Garland residence just prior to 10:30 p.m. on January 7 when they received notification from 911 dispatchers of a man shot in the leg. Until police and emergency responders arrived at the scene at 15834 Great Cove Road, Garland’s son Bradley Ray Starliper performed first aid and used his belt as a tourniquet to help slow the bleeding.

Starliper, along with his girlfriend, reportedly witnessed the shooting and argument between Garland and Sipes, police said. An affidavit of probable cause filed through Magisterial District Judge Wendy Mellott indicates Garland and Sipes had initially been arguing about her being “drunk and pregnant.”

“ ... At one point the defendant (Sipes) passed out and fell to the floor and could not get up,” said arresting officer Trooper Michael Davis in the charging documents. Sipes was carried upstairs to bed where she remained for several hours until Garland reportedly joined her at around 10 p.m. that evening.

In speaking with Starliper, police learned the duo began arguing 10 minutes later. Garland, the affidavit said, returned down- stairs and grabbed several household knives from the kitchen. Garland is accused of repeatedly yelling upstairs for Sipes to “kill” him.

The argument reportedly continued downstairs, and Garland offered to get the keys to his gun cabinet, police said.

“ ... The defendant (Sipes) opened the gun cabinet and pulled out a 12 gauge,” the affidavit maintained. “Starliper related the victim (Garland) loaded the gun and handed it to the defendant and said ‘kill me.’ Starliper related the defendant took the gun and told the victim ‘I’m going to blow your guts out.’ He related the defendant had the gun pointed in the direction of the victim, and she lowered the gun and it went off.”

In a follow-up interview with Sipes, she allegedly told Trooper Davis she had “consumed a couple beers prior to the argument. She also related she had taken prescribed medications for leg pain and a migraine.”

“The defendant (Sipes) related that while they were arguing she told the victim ‘I’ll just shoot ya.’ She then related she didn’t know where she got the gun, but she had a long gun in her hands. The defendant then related she pointed the gun at the victim and threatened to shoot him again. She related she did not know how the gun went off but it did while she was holding it ... ,” the affidavit concluded.

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