Not Guilty….of all misdemeanor and felony charges. Mr. McCleary pleaded guilty to summary disorderly offenses. Never stop asking for discovery. I had to fight tooth and nail to receve certain discovery that is supposed to be turned over without making a request. However, after requesting informally and then by formal motion, I was able to take a look at what really happend. The Commonwealth’s witness gave at least 3 different versions of what happened…this after he was caught running out of the back door of the residence.
Great result for Ryan!!
PITTSBURGH — A 20-year-old Robert Morris student remained silent as he walked out of court on Tuesday, accused of shooting at emergency vehicles.
A friend of Ryan McCleary’s testified that he was with him on a front porch the night of the alleged November incident and never saw or heard him fire the gun.
“When you have an eyewitness who basically says it didn’t happen, they try to connect the dots,” said defense attorney Steve Townsend.
Moon Township Police Officer Ian Lucas testified that he “was driving on Brodhead Road headed toward University Boulevard when my front passenger window was shattered inward.”
Paramedic Cassandra Donaldson testified that the door on her ambulance was also shot at.
Despite McCleary’s prints being found on a BB gun, Townsend said McCleary didn’t fire the gun.
“You never know what’s going to happen when a case gets downtown. That’s why it’s so important to have hearings like these because memories change, memories fade. People lose track. It was clear today that Mr. McCleary did not shoot a rifle at that vehicle,” said Townsend.
McCleary was held on all charges.
Thomas Olson was acquitted of Robbery. Steven C. Townsend, Mr. Olson’s attorney, said it took more time to for the court to order and have lunch delivered for the jury than it did for Mr. Olson’s peers to find Mr. Olson not guilty of Robbery, a first degree felony. Mr. Olson was facing the criminal charge as a result of an incident that occurred in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh in August of 2009. The charge could have put Mr. Olson in prison for up to 20 years, plus an additional 5 years for the use of a weapon.
A pizza delivery man was robbed by an unknown white male who was wielding a “sawed-off” baseball bat. Fortunately for the man, he was not injured and the robber got away with only $20. There were phone records which led police to the telephone booth where the phone call was made to order the pizza. After the incident, police along with the victim, reviewed the video surveillance of the telephone where the call was made. The jurors however, were never provided the video because the Commonwealth said that the manager of the gas station where the call was made, had no idea how to preserve it. On cross examination, the detectives admitted that one of the most critical pieces of evidence in a robbery is identification, yet they failed to take steps to preserve the video.
More shocking than not producing the video is the fact that the assailant was described as being 5’10”. The victim was absolutely positive of this characteristic because he had approximately 30 seconds to view him as well as 10 seconds face to face. That being said, Mr Olson who is only 5’5″, was chosen from a photo array almost 2 months after the incident. At Mr. Olson’s preliminary hearing both the victim and the police detective testified that the victim identified Mr. Olson in the array. However, upon a careful reading of the transcript, it was apparent that this wasn’t the first photo array that was shown to the victim.
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Mr. Olson’s attorney, Steve Townsend, filed 2 separate motions requesting the Commonwealth provide the mandatory discovery. Although this information should have been provided upon the first informal request, Mr. Townsend had to argue on 2 occasions to receive it. Why was it so important? It was learned that the victim was shown Mr. Olson’s picture in another photo array 4 days after the incident — the victim failed to identify Mr. Olson. There was a reason for his lack of identification, Mr. Olson was innocent….Mr Olson was 5 inches shorter….Mr. Olson had 6 alibi witnesses, which the police failed to interview.
Shame on the police for trying to withhold this information. Shame on the Commonwealth for trying to prosecute an innocent man even though they had this information for over a year. Fortunately for Mr. Olson, his attorney didn’t waive his preliminary hearing, and didn’t accept the Commonwealth’s repeated response that it had provided all exculpatory discovery.
Big Beaver man accused of slashing a woman’s neck
Monday August 16, 2010 08:47 PM
BIG BEAVER — A Big Beaver man accused of slashing a woman’s neck with a utility knife early Saturday told his father that the woman recited a Bible verse after a long night of drinking and asked him to kill her, according to a criminal complaint.
“So I did,” said Thomas Heaton, 30, of 110 Peach Alley.
The deep wound extending from just below Mary Jo Cook’s right ear to the midline of her neck was not fatal. Cook, 41, of 401 15th St., New Brighton, was treated at Ellwood City Hospital and released, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Cook could not be reached for comment Monday.
Heaton remained in the Beaver County Jail Monday afternoon, charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment, but his attorney said his parents were expected to post his $50,000 bond.
Police reported that Cook and four other men, including Heaton’s brother, Joseph, 32, and Edward C. Britton, 24, had been drinking in the Koppel area from Friday night into Saturday morning before returning to the Heaton residence at Peach Alley.
They continued drinking there in an upstairs hall and in Joseph Heaton’s bedroom, where Thomas Heaton joined them.
Cook and Thomas Heaton continued drinking in the hall after Joseph Heaton and Britton retired for the night, according to the complaint.
Britton told police that he was awakened by Cook screaming and found her in the hall with a large neck wound. He and Joseph Heaton attempted to tend to the wound, but Cook left the house after a short period and was found walking by an unidentified neighbor, who called police.
Meanwhile, Thomas Heaton had gone downstairs, where he washed in a bathroom and told his father, Samuel R. Heaton Jr., that he had slashed Cook’s neck at her request, according to the complaint. Police reported that he threw a red, folding Craftsman utility knife on the kitchen table while speaking with his father.
He also told his father that police would be coming for him and he intended to wait for them, which he did.
Pittsburgh attorney Steven Townsend, who is representing Heaton, questioned the details in the criminal complaint. He said his client takes medication to control seizures caused by head injury he suffered in a traffic accident.
“I know it was very hectic when the police were there, and I’m not sure what was quoted in that affidavit was actually said,” Townsend said.
He said he had not yet spoken with his client, who is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Friday.
My client, Phillip Preda, was facing and the Government was arguing for a 70 month sentence. Thankfully, the judge listened to the comments and testimony at the sentencing hearing and did the right thing….he reduced it by 28 months!!
Local men sentenced in Illinois on drug charges
Tuesday August 3, 2010 08:57 PM
Two brothers from Moon Township and five Beaver County residents have been sentenced in Illinois for working in a drug ring that moved more than two tons of marijuana from Mexico to Pittsburgh between 2002 and 2009.
According to the office of U.S. Attorney James Lewis of the Central District of Illinois, a federal judge on Friday sentenced Noah A. Landfried, 26, to life in prison and his brother Ross E. Landfried III, 28, to 20 years for leading the ring.
Prosecutors said the ring smuggled about 5,300 pounds of marijuana over seven years from the Mexican border with Arizona to the Pittsburgh area. The cases were prosecuted in Illinois because the ring used Interstate 80 to transport marijuana across that state.
The ring, according to a press release from Lewis’ office, used “numerous couriers in privately owned automobiles and residences along the I-80 corridor” in Illinois. Each load of marijuana weighed about 200 pounds, prosecutors said.
Both Landfrieds, who were charged in April 2009, pleaded guilty in March to leading the drug trafficking ring and admitted that their proceeds totaled about $1 million.
Five Beaver County men and one from nearby in Ohio also have been sentenced for participating in the ring, prosecutors said. They are:
- Victor J. Gaydos, 31, of Aliquippa, sentenced in April to 57 months in prison.
- Dwayne W. Corrigan, 26, of Ambridge, sentenced Friday to five years in prison.
- Philip S. Preda, 38, of Aliquippa, sentenced Friday to 42 months in prison.
- Joshua W. Welling, 29, of Ambridge, sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.
- Richard J. Bedalota Jr., 30, of Aliquippa, sentenced Friday to 57 months in prison.
- Justin R. Seibert, 27, of East Liverpool, Ohio, sentenced in April to 41 months in prison.
- Also, Frank J. Berardelli, 52, of Rochester, is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 30, and James E. White II, 36, of Rogers, Ohio, is to be sentenced Aug. 20.
Two other men, Daniel W. Keitel, 26, of Bellevue and Ronald J. Marusack Jr., 25, of Pittsburgh, have each been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
After a three-day trial and approximately seven hours of deliberation, the Dauphin County jury acquitted Amos P. Cameron, a 49-year-old firefighter and emergency services worker who, when accused, was a top official at a Pittsburgh-area nonprofit, the Emergency Medical Service Institute.
“It’s the right verdict,” said Steven C. Townsend, Cameron’s attorney.
Cameron, of Leetsdale, has maintained all along that the sexual relations with the Southampton woman were consensual. Townsend said his client is overjoyed that he has been vindicated, but added that the 49-year-old has endured a harrowing ordeal.
“He has had to step off several boards he sits on because of how this looked to the public,” said Townsend. “He broke down in tears in court when he was listening to how she was portraying him.”
Dauphin County Assistant District Attorney Nichole Smith said the woman was upset by the verdict, but is “holding up as well as can be expected under the circumstances.”
“We respect the jury’s decision but we are disappointed,” said Smith. “I don’t think it was an easy case to decide. We presented quite a few facts that we thought supported the victim’s version of events.”
Townsend claimed there were inconsistencies in the woman’s testimony. Charges were not filed against Cameron until July 2009, nearly a year after the woman reported the rape. Townsend said that showed there was a weakness in the prosecution’s case from the beginning.
“They let the case sit around for months and then they decided to charge him,” said Townsend.
The woman alleged that Cameron raped her in her hotel room in East Hanover, Dauphin County, the night of Aug. 11, 2008. She and Cameron were both in the area for an EMS conference.
The woman reportedly felt sick after dining with friends at the hotel and decided to go to her room, said court papers. Cameron walked her to the room. There, the woman maintained, the rape occurred.
Cameron had supporters who felt he had been wrongly accused. A page on Facebook is dedicated to raising money to help pay for his legal defense. The page is called “Support Amos Cameron,” and 112 people have signed on as friends.
Christopher Ruvo can be reached at 215-345-3147 or firstname.lastname@example.org