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Chambersburg man accused in death of son enters not guilty plea

Jerry Rowe faces a charge of criminal homicide

March 09, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
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CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A Chambersburg man accused of fatally shooting his son on Oct. 16, 2010, entered a not guilty plea in Franklin County (Pa.) Court Wednesday.

Jerry Rowe, 55, appeared before Judge Douglas Herman for mandatory arraignment. Rowe, who faces a charge of criminal homicide, was jailed and released a few times in a dispute among judges and the district attorney regarding an appropriate amount for bail.

Rowe is not currently incarcerated.

"We've decided, at least initially, (a trial) will be scheduled for the July term of court," Herman said, telling defense attorney David Breschi scheduling conflicts will make it difficult to set aside five days for a trial.

Lawyers for both sides should plan to be in court for a pre-trial conference in early summer, Herman said.

The judge advised Rowe of possible verdicts under the umbrella charge of criminal homicide. He said a judge or jury could choose to find Rowe guilty of first-degree murder, third-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter.

In an affidavit of probable cause, police allege Jerry Rowe told them he and his son were involved in a verbal argument when Nathaniel Rowe, 27, shoved his mother at a Duncan Avenue home. Jerry Rowe said he retrieved a loaded, 9 mm semiautomatic handgun from under his mattress and confronted his son.

Police found Nathaniel Rowe lying on the ground without a pulse, and he was pronounced dead at Chambersburg Hospital. The first officers on the scene said Jerry Rowe was holding a handgun to his head and threatening suicide.

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