The prosecutors and defense lawyers dealing with the case against Eric Frein, the man who allegedly ambushed a Pennsylvania State Police trooper in October of 2014, are in agreement with having a jury outside of the area rule over the case.
Eric Frein’s lawyers and prosecutors came to their agreement on Friday, June 10th, at a pretrial hearing that took place in Milford. Although the jury will be outside of the area, the trial will be kept in Pike County where the charges against Frein were filed. The decision has to be approved by a judge, however the judge is expected to approve the decision.
Frein allegedly fatally shot State Police Corporal Bryon Dickson and allegedly wounded Trooper Alex Douglass. The alleged shootings took place in Blooming Grove Township. Defense lawyers argued that a trial in Pike County would not be fair due to the extensive media coverage about the alleged ambush. Frein pleaded not guilty, and authorities are pursuing the death penalty.
Sealed documents from a lawsuit that will be released publicly as ordered by a Philadelphia judge may contain details regarding claims that the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was told by a boy that he had been molested by Jerry Sandusky.
The request was made by The Associated Press among other news outlets. Judge Gary Glazer made the decision to release the records publicly within a month on Thursday, June 9th. This claim pertaining to Paterno was disclosed by Glazer in May when he made a ruling regarding payments made by Penn State’s insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Co., to people claiming that Sandusky abused them. Sandusky was Paterno’s former assistant.
Glazer made his decision after he was the presiding judge on a hearing in which the lawyer for Penn State wanted him to meet with the victims before making his decision. According to Glazer, any identifying information about the victims will be kept private. On Friday, Penn State approved of Glazer’s decision to keep the alleged victims’ names private.
Glazer said the following in a written statement, “Under the state and federal constitutions and the common law… the public’s right of access to civil court records, and the public’s continued concern regarding the unfortunate events underlying this coverage action, weigh heavily in favor of unsealing the record.” The records contain reports from experts in which the settlements and the potential responsibility of the insurer were evaluated.
In a written statement, the judge said that Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Co. had evidence alleging that an assistant coach witnessed Sandusky engaging in “inappropriate contact” with a child at Penn State in 1987. In addition, another person allegedly “witnessed sexual contact” between Sandusky and another child in 1988. According to what Penn State president Eric Barron stated in May, Penn State did not have evidence supporting what an alleged victim had claimed.
Paterno died from lung cancer in 2012. Prior to his death, Paterno said he did not get his first complaint against Sandusky until 2001. According to Penn State, it paid $92 million in settlements in regards to 32 civil claims of abuse by Sandusky starting in 1971. Sandusky claims he is innocent, and he is appealing a conviction in which he was convicted of 45 counts for abusing ten boys.
One person was treated for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in a detached shed in Liberty Township on Sunday, June 12th.
According to Port Allegany’s Star Hose Company #1, the fire broke out at approximately 6:20 p.m. at 5211 Route 155. The shed was fully involved when Chief 320 arrived on scene. Firefighters were able to contain the fire, and it did not spread to any other structures. The fire was put out in about one hour. A resident suffered minor smoke inhalation, but he was able to be treated on scene.
The Port Allegany and Smethport fire departments helped at the scene. Chief 320, Chief 3, Engine 33, and Squad 3 were the first to respond to the fire.
According to the Pennsylvania State Police in Towanda, 18-year-old Bradley D. Stroud of Athens was arrested on Friday, June 10th. He faces the following charges: aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats, burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, attempted robbery, attempt to commit theft, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief.
After his arraignment in front of District Judge Jonathan Wilcox, Stroud was placed in Bradford County Prison. The following three suspects were previously arrested: 20-year-old Dakota M. Walters of Athens,; 20-year-old Bryant T. Ashby of Milan; and 24-year-old Isaac A. Clark of Milan. The bails for each suspect is $75,000.
On Tuesday, June 7th, the four suspects allegedly broke into William M. Ewing’s Smithfield Township home and allegedly physically assaulted him. Ewing was treated at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre. Please remember that the accused are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Two people were injured, one seriously, in an accident that occurred Wednesday, May 8th, in Delmar Township.
According to police, 20-year-old Michael S. Hockenberry of Wellsboro was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado in a north direction on Dantz Run Road at speeds that were considered to be unsafe. Hockenberry lost control of the vehicle when he tried to drive along a curve in the road. The vehicle spun around before traveling across the road. The vehicle moved to the berm and hit a tree. The vehicle was still rotating when Hockenberry was thrown from the vehicle through the passenger window. Then, the vehicle rolled over. The vehicle traveled for about 60 feet down an embankment and rested in a wooded area. The crash occurred at about 2:05 a.m.
Hockenberry, who was not wearing his seat belt, was seriously injured. He was taken to Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital to be treated. Hockenberry’s passenger, 28-year-old James D. Akeley of Covington, had minor injuries. Akeley was wearing his seat belt. Hockenberry was charged with a moving violation, and he might also face other charges. Police suspect alcohol may have contributed to the crash. The Tioga Freedomist extends our thoughts and prayers to the families of the injured.
A Mansfield man’s license plate was stolen from his vehicle over the weekend.
According to the Pennsylvania State Police in a report, a license plate was stolen from a parked vehicle belonging to 40-year-old Aaron L. Baker sometime from Friday, June 10th to Saturday, June 11th, between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. The vehicle was parked at 30 Black Top Lane, Lot 74, when the theft occurred.
If you have any information about this theft, you are asked to call the Pennsylvania State Police in Mansfield or Crime Stoppers at (800) 472-8477.
No one was injured when a car hit a deer in Delmar Township on Saturday, June 11th, 2016.
According to the Pennsylvania State Police in Mansfield in a report, 27-year-old Robert Huba of Union, NJ was driving a 2006 Hyundai Sonata in a north direction on the right lane of travel of SR 287. The car hit a deer that ran out onto the roadway. The crash occurred about 525 feet to the south of Sweet Briad Road at approximately 5:10 a.m.
Huba, who was wearing his seat belt, was not injured in the crash. The car had disabling damage.
There is roadwork being done on the northbound lane of Poco Farm Road between Chestnut Street/Four Mile Drive and the Northway Road Exit as of this morning. There is a lane restriction in the vicinity of Williamsport.
A Philadelphia man who is currently at large was handed a lengthy prison sentence stemming from charges in which he had eight bags of heroin in a hotel room.
On Wednesday, Judge Marc F. Lovecchio gave 27-year-old Messiah Burrell a state prison sentence of 15-30 years with time served in Lycoming County Court. Burrell was convicted for the following charges: two counts of felony Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Deliver; misdemeanor Int Poss Contr Subst By Per Not Reg; and misdemeanor Use/Poss Of Drug Paraph.
According to the Pennsylvania State Police in a report, Burrell allegedly sold a female some heroin at the Comfort Inn Hotel in Loyalsock on February 13th, 2015, at approximately 12:47 p.m. According to a press release, police responded to a domestic dispute within a vehicle beside Interstate 180 in Muncy Creek Township. Police discovered eight bags of heroin in the hotel room Burrell was staying in after they arrested Burrell.
Burrell did not attend the March trial. At that time, he was found guilty. According to district attorney Eric R. Linhardt, Burrell’s current location is not known. There is a bench warrant out for his arrest. His sentence will start when he is found. In a press release, Lovecchio said he gave Burrell such a long sentence in part due to his failure to appear in court.
In a separate incident in May of 2013, Burrell was found guilty of summary Harassment – Subject Other to Physical Contact. That incident occurred on May 16th, 2013. Burrell was also found guilty of Harassment – Subject Other to Physical Contact in March of 2012. That alleged incident took place on March 5th, 2012. According to police, he allegedly pulled hair from a woman’s head and hit her. The incident took place at an apartment located on East Orange Street’s 500 block in Lancaster.
In February of 2013, the then 24-year-old Burrell faced several charges that were eventually dismissed in connection with an alleged domestic dispute incident. At that time, Burrell was living in Lancaster. According to police, he allegedly choked his 22-year-old girlfriend and allegedly punched her on February 14th, 2013. She sustained a broken nose and other injuries to her face. Also according to police, Burrell allegedly picked up his son by his head before allegedly throwing him on the sidewalk. The boy’s head and shoulder hit the pavement. According to police, the child had contusions as well as a strained neck. Both Burrell’s girlfriend and the child were treated at a hospital. The alleged incident occurred on the sidewalk of North Franklin Street’s 500 block. The following charges were filed against Burrell but were later dismissed: two counts of felony Aggravated Assault in the 1st degree; misdemeanor Simple Assault in the 1st degree; misdemeanor Simple Assault in the 2nd degree; Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense in the 1st degree; and Recklessly Endangering Another Person.
A Williamsport man received a lengthy prison sentence after he killed his 22-year-old girlfriend and then hid the body in a closet for several weeks in July of 2015.
President Judge Nancy Butts sentenced 35-year-old Hasan Gooden-Reid to 30-60 years in state prison in Lycoming County Court on Thursday, June 9th. He had pleaded guilty to murder prior to his sentencing.
Kristina Pope was 22 when she was killed by Gooden-Reid on July 7th. Gooden-Reid entered his apartment located on Sherman Street’s 1600 block where Pope was sitting in the living room. According to Gooden-Reid, water was running on the floor due to a broken toilet and his cell phone had been smashed. According to what Gooden-Reid said to the court, he was angry with Pope and she tried to exit the apartment but he would not let her leave. Pope grabbed a pair of scissors and the two struggled. Gooden-Reid got the scissors from Pope and she began choking him while they were both on the couch. According to Gooden-Reid, he stabbed her between four and five times on the left side below her armpit.
After Gooden-Reid stabbed Pope, he moved the body to the bed in his bedroom and covered it up. He told the court he was afraid to call the police the night he killed Pope. At some point, he moved the body to a closet. The body was in the apartment for around three weeks when the Lycoming County Housing Authority instructed him to leave so the apartment could be fumigated as people were complaining about the smell as well as insects. According to Agent Raymond O. Kontz III in an affidavit, Gooden-Reid said the smell was because of clothes that were moldy and wet as well as a toilet that had been broken for three weeks. Gooden-Reid left the apartment and came back later that night. At that time, he moved the body to the trash can outside. According to Gooden-Reid, he put the body on the grass beside the trash can. He told the court that because of the smell, he “didn’t know what else to do”. On July 28th, a member of the Lycoming County Housing Authority found what was a jaw bone within a trashcan and police were called to the scene. Gooden-Reid has been in prison without bail since July 28th.
Gooden-Reid was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. According to what he told the court, he did not take his medication for a year prior to killing Pope. He was declared competent to stand trial in March. In court, Gooden-Reid said that “[Pope] was my girlfriend and I loved her. It broke my heart.” He said that when he killed Pope, “[He] was in a state of rage.” He also said he knew his actions were wrong and that at the time of the murder, “[He] wasn’t in [his] right state of mind”.
Gooden-Reid’s prison sentence was for the following charges: third-degree murder, abuse of a corpse, recklessly endangering another person, criminal mischief, possession of an instrument of crime, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, and obstructing the administration of the law. District Attorney Eric Linhardt, Gooden-Reid said that because of Gooden-Reid’s mental illness, he was not capable of “a specific intent to kill” so a first-degree murder charge could not be pursued. According to Linhardt, the sentence Gooden-Reid received was the maximum required by law. Kimberly Pope-Seiberling, who is Pope’s aunt, had asked that Gooden-Reid receive the maximum sentence.
Gooden-Reid said he “want[s] to start [his] life over again.” According to Lindhardt, Gooden-Reid will be eligible for parole when he reaches 65 years of age. However, Lindhardt doesn’t believe he will be paroled at that time because of “the violent nature of the offense”. A family friend of Pope, Dianna Coules, said the following in the courtroom, “She died too young and sadly at the hands of someone she thought loved her… People deserve second chances, but not today. The community will never be safe with you in it.”