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Judge lets charges stand in Chambersburg teen's slaying

December 19, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Steffawn Spriggs
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CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Cousins of a man charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a Chambersburg teenager testified Wednesday about the moments after the shots were fired.

In addition to first-degree murder, Steffawn Spriggs, 23, faces charges of illegal possession of a firearm, discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure and reckless endangerment.

Chambersburg police allege Spriggs shot and killed 18-year-old Calvin Warren James Beam. Officers found Beam in the rear parking lot of Chambersburg’s Franklin Fire Co., where he is believed to have run after being shot in The Salvation Army parking lot nearby.

A residence at 35 N. Franklin St. was struck by a bullet during the incident.

Three of Spriggs’ cousins offered testimony during a preliminary hearing Wednesday under subpoenas. Two of them expressed strong reluctance to testifying, with one refusing to answer questions about threats made against him and the other repeatedly breaking down in tears.

Together, the cousins painted a rough picture of the night Beam was shot three times.

Lance Branche, one of the cousins, testified he and Beam were doing drugs in a car behind the Historic Texas Lunch restaurant on Lincoln Way West, then moved under a bridge nearby. He said they were approached by Spriggs, who had what appeared to be a .22-caliber handgun.

Spriggs, of no fixed address, asked Beam about a dispute with someone named Ant, then the three of them walked toward the Salvation Army, Branche testified.

Branche testified Spriggs twice told him to leave the area, so Branche got into his vehicle and drove around the block twice. He said he did not see Spriggs or Beam on the second trip but heard sirens.

Two other cousins testified they traveled with Spriggs to McConnellsburg, Pa., with one of them throwing a cell phone out the window of a pickup truck in which they were riding. Hakeem Jefferson initially told Assistant District Attorney Lauren Sulcove he could not remember the entirety of a conversation he had with Spriggs about the shooting, then she said she would play a video recording of his interview with police referencing that conversation.

“You don’t have to play it,” he said. “I remember he said he told the boy to get on the ground or he was going to shoot him in the stomach.”

Spriggs’ defense attorney, Ian Brink, asked the witnesses about the drugs and alcohol they had consumed that night. He asked Jefferson about his possible impairment in court, to which Jefferson said he had taken Oxycontin because of a dental procedure.

At the end of the hearing, Magisterial District Judge Glenn Manns chose to keep all of Spriggs’ criminal charges in place. Mandatory arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 6.

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