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Witness identifies Ross

July 08, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A witness at a preliminary hearing Thursday identified Timothy J. Ross as the man who killed Drake A. Luckett in a March 1 shooting at a downtown bar.

"Tim ran by with the gun in his right hand and shot him," Tamra Lidie, of 217 Linden Ave., said during Ross's preliminary hearing before District Justice Gary Carter. "I seen him shoot my baby," she said.

Luckett, 34, also of 217 Linden Ave., was shot at about 10:42 p.m. at Dave's Tavern, 401 S. Main St. He was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound to his chest at 11:05 p.m. in Chambersburg Hospital, according to Franklin County Chief Deputy Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner.

"We would ask the court to make a finding today as to whether the evidence would include first- or second-degree murder," Ross's attorney, David R. Yoder, asked Carter at the end of the hearing.

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Carter would not exclude those charges and found there was sufficient evidence to order Ross, 25, of 280 Miller St., to appear in court for mandatory arraignment on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

After the hearing, Yoder said he wanted the district justice to rule there was insufficient evidence of first-degree, or premeditated murder, or second-degree murder, which is a killing committed in the course of another felony. A conviction on either would carry a mandatory life sentence.

In Pennsylvania, a charge of criminal homicide includes offenses ranging from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter.

"There would have to be a specific finding of malice" for a first-degree conviction, Yoder said.

Lidie said she and Luckett had recently moved to Chambersburg from Hagerstown, and had gone to the bar that night to pickup up beer to take home. Instead, she said they decided to stay for drinks.

She said a man she had never seen before came up to Luckett to shake hands, but used a racial slur. Lidie said the same man later shoved a friend of hers and Luckett intervened.

Lidie said the man also "sideswiped me with his shoulder."

"Did you hit my girl?" Luckett asked the man, according to Lidie. "He and Drake were at each other's throats," she said.

Lidie said when Luckett was outside putting her coat in her car, she saw a man give a handgun to Ross, who then left the bar by its West Catherine Street door.

When Luckett returned, Lidie said, "The people at the front of the bar had him hyped up." She said people were telling him "Tim" was waiting outside to fight him.

"Where's he at?" Lidie said she heard Luckett shout.

Lidie tried to prevent Luckett from going outside, but he opened the door and was shot in the chest and hand. Luckett stumbled back to the front of the bar before collapsing.

On cross-examination by Yoder and co-counsel Thomas S. Diehl, Lidie said she had never met Ross. She said people from the bar came to the hospital and gave her his name.

Ross was taken into custody by Chambersburg Police early on March 2. Police later that day found a handgun, coat and ammunition in a vacant lot about two blocks from the bar.

Ross is scheduled for a bail hearing on the criminal homicide charge this morning. When he was charged his bail was revoked on a cocaine delivery charge filed against him by borough police in January.

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