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Attempted homicide charge withdrawn

February 24, 2009|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- An attempted homicide charge against a State College, Pa., man was withdrawn Tuesday in Franklin County Central Court, but he waived his preliminary hearing on a remaining charge of stalking.

Neal Alan Witmer, 40, was charged with attempted homicide, terroristic threats and stalking following an incident on Jan. 19 that began in Centre County, Pa., according to Pennsylvania State Police.

"Those charges were withdrawn with the approval of the alleged victims in the case," District Attorney John F. Nelson said.

Witmer told a friend that he planned to kill his estranged wife, Stephanie Witmer, as well as a Hamilton Township, Pa., man with whom she had an affair, police said. Witmer also was angry with the man's wife, who told him of the affair in February 2008, police said.

Witmer's friend called the 911 center in Centre County shortly after 8 a.m., which passed the information to state police in Franklin County. Police warned the couple at their home and a trooper spotted Witmer's 2004 Ford F-150 pickup nearby at 10:10 a.m.

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Police found what appeared to be an ax handle in the truck, along with directions to the house printed off a computer.

"Well, he's also a building contractor," Nelson said when asked about the ax handle.

When interviewed by police, Witmer said he wanted to "put a face to the people that had (ruined) my life," according to the affidavit of probable cause. He also admitted to having parked twice before near the couple's previous address, police said.

"If you have enough interest, you can locate anyone," police said Witmer told them when asked about the computer directions to the house.

The remaining charge of stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.

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