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Pa. man shot in tongue testifies in opening day of trial

September 10, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

An Orrtanna, Pa., man being tried on an attempted murder charge managed to shoot both the victim and himself at the same time, according to opening day testimony Tuesday in Franklin County Court.

Joseph Ward Jr., 46, of 317 Poplar Springs Road, also is charged with aggravated assault, robbery, theft, receiving stolen property, carrying a firearm without a license and attempting to obliterate the serial number of a firearm, according to court documents.

The shooting occurred early on the morning of May 18, 2002, in a room at Carson's Motel at 414 W. Loudon St., according to Chambersburg police.

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"He put me in a headlock, told me to open my mouth and shot me in the mouth," Dominick A. Negliaccio testified.

"Half my tongue was shot off," he said.

Assistant District Attorney John Lisko told the jury in his opening statement that, when Negliaccio was shot, the bullet exited the back of his neck and went through Ward's left forearm.

Negliaccio testified he and Ward, whom he had met the night before at Razzle's, a Chambersburg bar, went to the motel together and were followed there by a woman Negliaccio said was Ward's niece.

After getting sandwiches at a convenience store, they went back to the room, where Negliaccio said Ward pulled a handgun and told him to put his belongings on the bed. Negliaccio testified that he put about $150 on the bed, along with a medallion, a gold earring, watch and Zippo lighter.

After he was shot, Negliaccio said, he came to and saw that Ward had left with his belongings. He then crawled to the motel lobby, and it was from there that police were called at 4:25 a.m.

Assistant Public Defender Paul Rockwell asked Negliaccio, who moved to the area several years ago from New York, if he remembered registering at the motel. Negliaccio said he registered using his St. Thomas address, but Rockwell showed him a copy of the registration card that had an address from a different state.

"I don't think this is my handwriting," Negliaccio said. He later said he did not clearly remember registering, although he paid for the room.

Rockwell asked whether the woman was still in the room when the shooting occurred. Negliaccio said she may have already left the room, but he was not positive.

Negliaccio said he did not know Ward's real name, saying he only knew him as "Q." He said he may have seen Ward at the bar before May 17, but did not know who he was.

Sgt. Glenn Manns testified he was on patrol that morning and went to South Second Street when another officer had pulled over a silver 1987 Ford Escort fitting the description Negliaccio gave police.

Manns said he saw a towel on the left forearm of Ward and it fell away, revealing what appeared to be a gunshot wound. He and Detective Will Frisby testified they saw a .25-caliber handgun under the driver's seat.

Frisby testified that he recovered a medallion, watch and other items from the car.

In his opening statement, Lisko told the jury of seven women and five men that the prosecution would present expert testimony to the effect that the handgun and a shell casing found in the motel room ballistically match.

Lisko said other experts will testify that gunpowder residue was found on Ward's clothes and hand and that blood stains from the room match Ward's DNA.

Rockwell offered no opening statement, asking Judge Carol Van Horn to reserve his right to present one later in the trial, which is scheduled to last up to five days.

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