Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - December 5, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania
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© Copyright 2001WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2001
MMMShooting suspect jailed before
By Mark Leberfinger Staff Writer The man arrested Tuesday in connee tion with the weekend shooting of a Logan Township woman has a checkered past with Blair County authorities. Altoona police arrested Orville David
Brown of 314 Third St. in connection with Sunday night’s shooting of Ashley Johnson.
Detective Cpl. Rob Archey said Brown is charged with criminal attempt at homicide and four counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. He
also was charged with firearms not to be possessed by a felon Johnson, 18, was listed in stable condition Tuesday at Altoona Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Johnson was shot in front of the Polir Global Recycling building on the 200 block of Fifth Avenue late Sunday as
she talkie vs itll friends who were sit ting in a car.
After an arraignment Tuesday evening. Brown was lodged in Blair County Prison.
This isn't the first time Brown has been an inmate at the county lockup.
Brown moved to Altoona from New
York City in October 1998 and appeared on the police radar screen two months later.
He was arrested Dec. ll. 1998. by the Blair County Drug Task Force on charges of possession, criminal attempt to deliver and possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine.
Please see Shoot /Page ASCAMBODIA ADOPTION
Family will stay away for holiday
By Phil Ray
A Hollidaysburg couple has made plans to spend Christmas in Cambodia so they can carry on their fight to retain custody of the young Cambodian they adopted in October.
Jeff and Karen Fleming were given fonnal notice Friday that the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service intends to deny a visa to their newly adopted daughter, who they named Isabel Chompa Fleming.
The 2 Vi-year-old has been in the Flemings’ custody since the first week of October, but the Flemings can’t bring her back to their Hollidaysburg home unless the U.S. government grants the child a visa.
Their attempts to bring Isabel to the United States ran into a roadblock when the American Embassy in Phnom Penh and the INS. based in Thailand, launched an investigation into backgrounds of children adopted by 12 American couples.
During Thanksgiving week, U.S. Ambassador Kent Wiedmann released information that an illegal network was procuring babies for couples from the West by stealing them or purchasing them from their parents.
Wiedmann said the children did not meet the definition of an orphan under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Blair County attorney Joseph Cavrich, who has served as spokesman for his law partner, Jeff Fleming, and Karen Fleming, called the comments by the ambassador an “outrage.”
He said when the Flemings received the government’s notice of intent to deny the visa, there was no mention that Isabel was being denied because there was proof she was stolen or sold by her parents to unsavory characters.
Cavrich could not reveal details of the reasons listed by the INS because of confidentiality concerns.
“I will tell you in the most absolute terms there is nothing in the notice of denial of any specific evidence the children [adopted by the American couples] were bought or stolen,” he said.
Please see Visa/Page All
WATER STREET CONSTRUCTION
DANA GATES MURDER
Victim died from beating
Mirror photo by Jason Sipes
Traffic on Old Route 22 passes under the bridge being constructed as part of the
Water Street improvement project.
Mother Nature speeds up work
By Mark Leberfinger Staff Writer
BEDFORD — A weapon other than a firearm was used to kill Dana Gates at her Schellsburg Road home in Bedford County, Blair County’s coroner said Tuesday.
Coroner Patricia Ross said Gates died from “massive blunt force trauma to the head.” She said gunshots or fists were not the cause.
“Yes, there had to Im1 some kind of weapon," Ross said.
Police won t say what the weapon was or whether it also was used to beat Gates’ fiance, Lorin Burket, 31, in the head to the point he was critically injured.
Lt. Ivan H. Hoover, commander of the state police barracks in Bedford, said only that Burket suffered blunt force trauma to the head. He wouldn’t say whether investigators have taken the murder weapon into evidence. Hoover said no firearms were involved.
During a news conference Tues day at the Bedford barracks. Hoover refused to say whether police have a suspect in the murder and attempted murder. He only said police were looking for a third party.
“We have several leads, and we are pursuing them,” he said.
The barracks’ commander said a burglary was committed in the commission of the crimes.
More than 200 pieces of evidence have been gathered so far as technicians from the Troop G Forensic Services Unit and the state police crime lab at Greensburg have spent the last several days combing the crime scene, Hoover said. Eight criminal investigators from Troop G also have been assigned to the case.
“I’m not going to discuss a lot of what is involved,” he said.DEVELOPMENTS
Latest developments in the Bedford murder case:
M A weapon was used to kill Gates
N Gates died from massive blunt force trauma to the head.
N Gates was found sitting on a wall outside her home Friday morning by a passerby M Lorin Burket is under state police guard at Altoona Hospital m A state police helicopter crew took aerial photographs of the crime scene.
M More than 200 pieces of evidence have been processed since Friday ■ Police say there’s no indication this was a ’‘total random act of
Burket remains in Altoona Hospital under state police guard. Burket’s condition report is under wraps at police request. The trooper is there to protect Burket and to alert authorities of his condition, Hoover said.
Please see Beating/Page All
By Mia Rohart Staff Writer
WATER STREET - If the warm, dry weather continues, motorists may be able to drive on a new section of road connecting routes 22 and 453 before Jan. I.
“If Mother Nature holds a bit, I think we can get traffic up on that new road,” said Frank Slezak, project manager for construction services for R.L. Kimball & Associates Inc.
The two-year, $12.6 million project is scheduled to be completed by fall. Work is about 60 percent finished.
Renovations will be made in the spring on Old Route 22, part of which will be transformed
into a dead-end street, and the old bridge will be dismantled. The project received 80 percent of its funding from the federal government and 20 percent from the state.
Routes 453 and 22 will be made safer with a signal light. Turning lanes have been created, and a large piece of the hillside has been carved away to make Route 22 wider,
PennDOT spokesman Asbury Lee said.
“From a safety standpoint, we looked at it and wondered what we could do,” Lee said.
The blind intersection has been the site of many serious accidents.
Please see Connection/Page A6
Mirror photo by Jason Sipes
The house where Dana Gates’ murder and Lorin Burket’s beating took place remained secured by police Tuesday.
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