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Witness testifies in Pa. shooting case

February 13, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Sarah Lynn Sipes
Sarah Lynn Sipes

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. — A witness to a shooting in Fulton County, Pa., testified Monday that the victim handed a shotgun to the accused shooter.

“When he handed the gun to her, he said the safety was already off,” Bradley Starliper testified.

Starliper is the son of John Russell Garland, who was shot in his Ayr Township, Pa., home Jan. 7. He was hospitalized for his injuries.

Sarah Sipes, 25, of Hancock, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and four misdemeanors.

Wearing a green jail jumpsuit, Sipes appeared in Fulton County Central Court on Monday afternoon for a preliminary hearing. Magisterial District Judge Devin C. Horne decided there was enough evidence for the case to proceed.

Starliper, who was the only person to offer testimony, described an argument between Garland and Sipes. He said the couple was arguing upstairs, then Garland entered the downstairs kitchen and punched the refrigerator while complaining Sipes had broken the cordless phone.

Garland threw knives at the base of the stairs, Starliper testified.

“He said something along the lines of ‘You want to kill me, (then) kill me,’” Starliper said.

As the couple continued their argument, Garland unlocked his gun cabinet and removed a 12-gauge shotgun, Starliper said. Garland put a shell in the chamber and cocked the firearm, Starliper said.

Starliper testified he saw Sipes point the gun toward Garland and heard her make a comment about “blowing his guts out.”

Garland suffered injuries to his thigh and groin area.

“She just stood there. He dropped,” Starliper said.

Earlier in the evening of the shooting, Starliper allegedly carried Sipes up the stairs after she had fallen.

“I figured she was pretty drunk. ... That’s what started the arguing because she was drunk and pregnant,” Starliper testified.

Public Defender Dwight Harvey asked Starliper why he did not do more to prevent the shooting.

“You didn’t say anything?” Harvey asked. “You didn’t say, ‘I don’t think this is a good idea? Put that (gun) away.’”

Starliper responded that he did not.

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