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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: July 7, 2001 - Page 1

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Publication: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - July 7, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                Spotlight Up in the air at Bedford County ultralight plane fly-in A4 iHtrrnr Copyright 2001 SATURDAY, JULY 7, 2001 SOt newsstand Court outburst lands city man in hotter water Thomas (right) launched into a obscenity-laced tirade Friday against Judge Norman Callan and then scuffled with sheriff's deputies after he was found in contempt of court. BY PHIL RAY StaffWriter HOLLLDAYSBURG An Altoona man in Blair County Prison awaiting trial on drug charges and throats to kill his estranged girlfriend added to his legal problems Friday when he shouted at a judge and wrestled with sheriffs deputies. Victor Thomas of Altoona complained Friday that when he is in court, he is not allowed to talk. Thomas then did a lot of talking to Judge Norman D. Callan, trying to outshout the judge and launching an abscenity-laced diatribe against the judge, his lawyers and others. He went even further after Callan ordered him to serve six months for contempt of court. Thomas got into a brawl with sher- iffs male and two females. His attack will result in additional charges against him. Thomas was objecting to deputies' attempts to cuff his hands behind him as they prepared to transport him to the Blair County Prison. Thomas attacked a male deputy, who fell backward into several chairs along the side of C allan's c our troom. As the chairs overturned and scattered in several directions, Thomas got on top of the deputy. The deputies tried to calm Thomas, who continued to rant, and were able to bring him back to his foet, but'the brawl contin- ued. The three deputies were joined in the fray by former Altoona police officer Thomas Shea, who serves in the court administra- tor's office. The court officers attempted to calm Thomas, telling him repeatedly not to make things worse for himself. Thomas' wife and sister, who were in the courtroom for the hearing before Callan, also uttered pleas of restraint to him. Despite the requests to calm down, Thomas continued to shove the deputies. Please sea A9 Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec The new 21-foot water slide at Juniata's Memorial Park has been a real hit with pool visitors. According to Central Blair Rec Commission Director John Little, the number of visitors this year has doubledfrom last year. "The slide has had a very positive impact on attendance at the Little said of the slide, which was installed in the spring. "A good day last year we would have 300 people, and this year we have in excess of 600 coming to the pool, and that's a result of this water slide." The water slide was purchased and installed with a price tag. Memorial Pool is open daily from noon to 7 p.m. Above: Elizabeth Gardner, 6, gets help from her mom, Mary, getting back to the pool edge Friday. Shooter may get less time State court vacates hefty sentence for man who fired 11 bullets into Cove home. BY PHIL RAY Staff Writer A long prison sentence imposed on a Martinsburg man who shot into a house two years ago and nar- rowly missed two small children has been vacated by the state Superior Court, which said the sen- tencing judge focused too much on the crime and not enough on the good aspects of the man's character. Judge Norman D. Callan must resentence Jacob A. Ritcbey, 46, who is in the second year of a 10- to 20-year state prison sentence. Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman said he will ask the judge to reimpose the 10- to 20-year sentence on Ritchey after consider- ing other aspects of the incident, including Ritchey's background. Hitchey's attorney was not avail- able for comment Friday. The Superior Court, a day after upholding a Callan sentence of 18 to 49 years in a major drug case, criticized the judge for not order- ing a presentence investigation info Ritchey's background that would provide additional insight for the judge prior to sentencing. Callan said he didn't order a pre- sentence investigation because Ritchey waived the preparation of the report. On Friday, he tersely ordered the report be done. The state parole and probation office will have 60 days to prepare it. Gorman said he could appeal the Superior Court's decision but has decided not to. Taking the case to the Supreme Court would mean a year's delay, during which time Ritchey could be freed from prison on bail, he said. in March 2000, Callan originally sentenced Ritchey, noting the vicious nature of the attack on a private home. At a.m. July 7, 1999, police said Ritchey opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle from his truck parked along the side of the road near Roaring Spring, sending at least 11 bullets streaking into the home, blowing apart walls and furniture. Please see A9 3 killed in Pa. by fireworks made at home Prom Mirror staff and wire reports The tragic death of a Delaware boy in Blair County was not the only fireworks-related death over the hol- iday. Another person was severely injured by an explod- ing homemade cannon and a third man was killed using a homemade fireworks launcher. An Independence Day celebration in Adams County turned tragic Wednesday when Andrew P. Shull, 22, of Arendtsville was killed and a 7-year-old boy was sevei'ely injured at a picnic, state police said. Picnic-goers in Butler Township, north of Gettysburg, were setting off a cannon when it explod- ed sending metal fragments into the air, which struck the two. Shull, a mechanic for Dai-Tile Corp. in Gettysburg, was pronounced dead at the scene, and the boy was taken to York Hospital, police said. Hospital officials would not provide his name or con- dition Thursday. Please see A9 P.. DELIVERY Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480 BIO FOUR 2971 I Lottery numbers, A2 WEATHER Partly sunny, Forecast, A2 IN SPORTS NASCAR fans pass a large No. 3 Friday on the side of the track where Dale Earnhardl was killed at the Daytona International Speedway, Safely issues are still up to drivers, but since Earnhardt's death, they are taking stronger elforts toward safety. PAGE B1 Race Day: Sterling Martin wins poll for tonight's Pepsi 400 NASCAR race. PAGE B6 Murder victim's friend charged with threats over media coverage From Mirror staff reports A friend of murder victim Randall Buchanan is charged with threaten- ing to shoot another man who he felt tarnished his name in media coverage of the Buchanan homi- cide, according to court papers. Johnathan Healy is charged with making terroristic threats, harass- ment and criminal trespass after threatening employees at Juniata's Memorial Pool June 26. Police said the incident capped a series of run-ins at the pool this summer involving Healy. Healy, 36, of 815 N. Second St., Juniata, apparently was upset by an Altoona Mirror story that men- tioned a fight that occurred two days before Buchanan was killed. Buchanan was found beaten to death June 21 in his home in Juniata. No arrests have been made in connection with his murder. In the story in question, Buchanan's neighbors told a Mirror reporter that Buchanan was give me a bad name. There will be trouble if you make my name bad. police affidavit involved in a June 19 fight at the pool. But pool employees told the Mirror that Buchanan was at the pool that day, but it was a friend of Buchanan's who was involved in the fight. The Mirror story did not name Healy as that friend. According to an affidavit filed by Altoona police, Healy was involved in a fight June 14 at the pool. He jUtnmta THE GREAT COMBINATION Call us today...Make money today. Ask for THE GREAT COMBINATION of MIRROR CLASSIFIEDS and HOT-ADS Phone (814) 946-7422 or fax us at (814) 946-7647____ JTJ Obituaries J3 SPORTS Local Community news Puzzles D2 D4 04 visited the pool again June 19 and was warned that he was banned because employees would tolerate no more fights. Police again were called to the pool at North 12th Avenue and Park Boulevard June 26 when the pool manager alleged Healy waj, making threats to him. The manager said Healy, who is deaf like Buchanan, parked his car that morning while employees were cleaning the pool and sum- moned him over to the fence by using hand motions. Another employee accompanied the manager to talk with Healy, the manager told police. Healy allegedly told the manager he read the newspaper and thought he was defamed. Healy allegedly threatened, "I'll shoot you if you give me a bad name. There will be trouble if you make my name according to the affidavit. Please see A9 INSIDE NATION President Bush to classify tetus as'unborn child.' PAGEC1 i   

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