Ten Caught Allegedly Trying to Buy Heroin After Police Use Alleged Heroin Dealers’ Cellphone

Ten people were arrested for allegedly trying to purchase heroin after Pennsylvania State Police officers used the cellphone of two alleged drug dealers that had been dropped during a high speed chase on Sunday, May 29th.

According to a report, the chase began at approximately 9:45 a.m. in Loyalsock Township. The police noticed a man fitting the description of an alleged drug dealer who was wanted by the Pennsylvania State Police Vice/Narcotics Unit. The trooper was parked in the Uni-Mart parking lot at 1810 Northway Road. 29-year-old Julian L. Ruffin of Philadelphia was in the passenger seat and 30-year-old Shakoor Johnson, also of Philadelphia, was driving the Chrysler 200 that was black in color. Ruffin was the man wanted by police. According to police, the car drove to East Third Street while the trooper followed it. The car quickly turned onto Reed Street after the men became aware that police were following them. Johnson began driving at speeds that were considered to be unsafe. Then, the vehicle pulled into a private property and struck a utility pole. According to police, Johnson drove onto a playground at the former Becht School located on Clayton Avenue. The vehicle became disabled, and a foot chase ensued. Johnson was apprehended in the back yard of 1949 Sheridan Street. Police had to use a taser in order to subdue Johnson. Ruffin was caught several minutes later after police found him walking in a north direction on Norhway Road.

According to reports, Ruffin allegedly had a bag in his possession when he began running. The bag was not on Ruffin’s person when he was apprehended. A resident who lives on Sheridan Street’s 1900 block told the Pennsylvania State Police in Montoursville that he heard the ringing of a cellphone in the backyard. In addition, he found Chrysler car keys. According to police, both Ruffin and Johnson denied owning the cellphone.

According to police, there were numerous calls and texts coming to the cellphone when they started using it to tell people intending to buy heroin to go to the Lycoming Mall. Ten people allegedly met troopers at the mall. According to police, all ten people were arrested. Three of the people that were arrested told police that Ruffin and Johnson had allegedly delivered heroin to them. According to an affidavit, another person admitted that he spent $80 on seven bags of heroin that he allegedly purchased from Ruffin and Johnson. Ruffin and Johnson were allegedly in the same black Chrysler police chased on May 29th.  Ruffin is currently in jail. His bail is set at $250,000. Please remember that the accused are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Frein’s Lawyers, Prosecution Agree To Outside Jury Pending Judge Decision

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.

Judge Orders Release of Documents Regarding Claims Paterno Allegedly Knew of Sandusky Abuse

Joe Paterno
Joe Paterno

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 Injured After Fire Breaks Out in Liberty Township Detached Shed

Photo by Star Hose Company #1 on Facebook
Photo by Star Hose Company #1 on Facebook

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.

Fourth Suspect Arrested in Connection with East Smithfield Home Invasion Attack

A fourth suspect has been arrested in connection with an East Smithfield home invasion attack that left a man injured.

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 Injured, One Seriously, in DUI Suspected Delmar Township Crash

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.

Mansfield Man’s License Plate Stolen

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.


Car Hits Deer in Delmar Township, No Injuries

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.

Philadelphia Man Gets 15-30 Years in Prison For Possessing 8 Bags of Heroin, Currently At Large

Messiah Burrell mugshot
Messiah Burrell

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.