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Harrisonville, Pa., man sentenced to prison for attempted murder

October 02, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A Harrisonville, Pa., man convicted of attempted murder in the February shooting of another man was sentenced today in Fulton County Court to 14 years and seven months to 50 years in prison and still faces charges in Franklin County that he later tried to hire a hitman to kill the victim.

"Even snakes don't go around and wait in ambush for someone and that's what you were doing," Judge John R. Walker told Gregory Rouzer when he handed down the sentences for attempted murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with serious bodily injury and criminal trespass. In August a jury found Rouzer guilty on all counts in the Feb. 7 shooting of Randolph Walters.

Rouzer testified at trial that he and Walters had arranged to go hunting that morning. He testified Walters came out of his Sipes Mill Road home and shot him with a shotgun and that he shot back in self-defense.

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"I didn't believe your story that you were going to go squirrel hunting ... and the jury didn't believe you," Walker said.

"This nightmare started 16 years ago," said Marian Wertz, who also lived at the Sipes Mill Road residence. "The family believes I was involved in Gary's attempted suicide," she said, referring to Rouzer's brother who shot himself in 1992.

Had she not seen Rouzer's leg sticking out from behind a shed on the property that morning and told Walters, they might have been killed, Wertz said.

Wertz told the court the harassment of her family has included an attempted break-in, hang up phone calls and her daughter getting a blood-stained birthday card.

"I truly feel Greg knew what his plans were from the phony breakdown of his vehicle," Wertz's daughter Crystal Booth told the court, referring to Rouzer's testimony that he had first gone to Wertz's home in late December for help when his car broke down nearby.

"I had to listen to his lies and the lies of his psycho girlfriend" during the trial Booth told the court. Following his Feb. 15 arrest, Rouzer was held in Franklin County Jail, where Pennsylvania State Police said he conspired with Mildred Tressler of Mercersburg, Pa., and his father, Kenneth Rouzer, to have Walters killed.

Rouzer and Tressler were subsequently charged with criminal solicitation to commit murder. Rouzer's trial in that case is currently set for the November trial term.

"I want him to take his last breath from behind bars," Booth said in court.

"It wasn't enough years," Walters said after the sentencing. He made no statement to the court.

One provision of the sentence is that Rouzer cannot possess firearms if he is ever paroled.

"If you want to go hunting after that ... you'll have to take up archery," Walker told Rouzer.

"I'm not sure the (Pennsylvania) Board of Probation and Parole would agree with that," District Attorney Travis Kendall told the judge a few minutes later.

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