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Drive-by case to be heard in Franklin Co. Court

May 19, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Despite the efforts of seven attorneys, District Justice John P. Weyman Monday ordered the cases of six teenagers charged in a March 11 drive-by shooting bound over for Franklin County Court.

Each is charged with aggravated and simple assault, criminal conspiracy, reckless endangerment, firearms violations, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct, according to Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom.

After listening to attorneys argue that many charges should be dropped for lack of evidence, Weyman said some of the lawyers acted as if the defendants had used "a water gun."

Patrick J. Redding, representing Timothy K. Messner, 17, of Chambersburg, objected, saying it was wrong "for this court to infer that we don't understand the seriousness of this charge."

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Weyman dismissed stalking and harassment charges after Krom and the attorneys agreed their was insufficient evidence.

Pennsylvania State Police also charged Daniel C. Putt, 16, and Javier Maldonado, 17, both of Mercersburg, Pa.; Bradley A. Walls, 18, and Bobby L. Wagaman, 18, both of Chambersburg; and Freddie F. Herr, 17, of St. Thomas, Pa., in the shooting at the Lake View Mobile Home Park in Fannettsburg, Pa.

The police affidavit said Putt fired the shots from his father's .22-caliber handgun. Although the home was hit, no one was injured.

"I was laying around the house and got a call that there was going to be a drive-by at my house at 10:30 p.m.," said Toby Allan Clevenger, who lived in the trailer. He said the call came at about 10:20 p.m.

Clevenger testified, however, that he and two other men stayed at the trailer about 25 minutes before leaving. One of them, Ty Thompson of Fannettsburg, said he left for a few minutes, but only to get heavy clothes and return.

"It was a cold night and if there was going to be an altercation, I wanted to be prepared," Thompson said. He said there was a hunting rifle in his truck, but said he carries it all the time.

Clevenger, Thompson and another man left when they saw two cars turn into the development. They drove to a nearby church parking lot in Thompson's pickup.

Thompson said he saw a Honda CRX and what appeared to be an Eagle Talon leave the scene. Neighbor Toni Keck said she saw two cars turn off their headlights and drive by the trailer as the shots were fired.

Trooper Randy Kane testified that Brad C. Beatty, who also lived in the trailer, told him "There were several people in Mercersburg he had a problem with."

Kane said Maldonado later "told me he was tired of Brad Beatty and Toby Clevenger coming down to Mercersburg" and harassing African-Americans.

Several weeks before the shooting, Kane said there was a fight between Beatty and Scott Bell, a friend of Maldonado's. Kane said that incident is still under investigation and no charges have been filed.

Attorneys for some defendants argued that their clients had no idea a shooting was going to occur.

"He was merely a passenger in a car going down a public street," said Nancy Myers, who represented Herr.

Because of the number of defendants, lawyers, witnesses and family members, the preliminary hearing was held at the courthouse rather than Weyman's office in Orrstown, Pa.

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