Pa. borough council member, Hagerstown man could be tried separately in bar fight

February 13, 2012
  • Craig Newcomer
Craig Newcomer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Waynesboro (Pa.) Borough Council member and a Hagerstown man accused in a bar fight that left a man with brain damage last year could be tried separately if a motion to sever the state’s case against them is granted in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

Craig Newcomer, 47, who served as borough council president before his arrest in May 2011, was indicted in October on one count of malicious assault and one count of conspiracy.

Co-defendant Benjamin Jason Bean, aka “4th Grade,” who provided the court with a Sharpsburg address at his arraignment last fall, was indicted on one count of conspiracy.

On Monday, the one-year anniversary of the bar fight, Newcomer’s attorney, Dan James, told 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes that he intended to file a motion to sever because he anticipated the defendants had “antagonistic defenses” in the case. 
The defendants’ trial is scheduled to begin March 20.

Newcomer, who was identified by the name “Guido” in the Avenger Motorcycle Club, is accused of fighting with then 45-year-old Ernest E. Cumbie at the Dirty Dawg Saloon in Martinsburg on Feb. 13, according to court documents. After the fight, Cumbie was flown for treatment of scalp hematoma, multiple facial and skull fractures, frontal lobe contusions and traumatic brain injury, police said in court documents.

Thomas Stanley, an attorney with the public defender’s office, is representing Bean, but told the court that he only recently was assigned the case. Both men are free on bond.

Police responded to investigate the alleged fight at the South Queen Street club at 2:25 a.m., according to court records.

Newcomer, a Third Ward councilman, was first elected in 2005.


— Matthew Umstead

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