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Witness in Rouzer's attempted murder trial says defendant's testimony 'a lie'

August 29, 2008|By DON AINES

McCONNELLSBURG, PA. -- A Harrisonville, Pa., man charged with attempted murder testified Thursday in Fulton County Court that he had arranged to go hunting with Randolph Walters on the morning he shot him.

Called as a rebuttal witness, Walters testified that Gregory A. Rouzer's testimony was "a lie."

Rouzer, 40, of 1291 Possum Hollow Road, also is charged by Pennsylvania State Police with aggravated assault and other offenses in the Feb. 7 shooting outside the Sipes Mill Road home of Walters and Marian Wertz.

Closing arguments are scheduled for this morning, after which the jury will begin deliberations. The trial began Wednesday with the prosecution presenting its case.

Regardless of the outcome of the trial, Rouzer still has criminal issues in Franklin County, where he is charged with criminal solicitation to commit homicide after allegedly trying to hire a hit man to kill Walters. Police said Rouzer did so while being held in Franklin County Jail on the attempted murder charge.

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Defense attorney Eric Weisbrod said that case is scheduled for the November trial term.

Rouzer testified that prior to Christmas 2007, his car broke down. Knowing that Wertz lived nearby, he walked to her house, he testified.

Walters helped him with the car, and the two talked about Walters possibly remodeling Rouzer's bathroom, he testified.

Rouzer testified he spoke with Walters and Wertz a few times by telephone, but Wertz told him she "wasn't comfortable" with Rouzer being around.

Rouzer testified his brother had been engaged to Wertz in the early 1990s.

On Feb. 6, Rouzer saw Walters near Breezewood, Pa., and they again discussed the remodeling job and arranged to meet on the morning of Feb. 7 to go hunting, he testified. Rouzer also testified the arrangement was for him to park away from the house so Wertz would not know.

When Walters did not show up, Rouzer testified he went behind a shed on their property and spilled a pocketful of .22-caliber shells onto the ground. As he was picking them up and loading the rifle, Walters confronted him armed with a shotgun, he testified.

"I'm assuming he's ready to go" hunting, Rouzer testified. "The next thing I know, I hear a gun shot and my leg starts stinging."

Rouzer testified he fired back and, not knowing whether he hit Walters, ran back to his car. Rouzer went home briefly, but spent about a week hiding from police and walking to meet a friend in Franklin County, he testified.

On cross-examination by District Attorney Travis Kendall, Rouzer testified he had a cell phone with him the day his car broke down, but went to Wertz's home rather than call his 80-year-old father for help.

Kendall also asked why Rouzer would think Walters was ready to go hunting when he was not wearing a shirt.

"He could have not been wearing pants and I wouldn't have noticed," Rouzer testified.

Walters testified on rebuttal that he never met Rouzer in Breezewood and never arranged to go hunting.

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