Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - March 13, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania
Nation: Teen sentenced to life gets clemency hearingLife: SAMA showcases work of 600 local students DIAltoona iJRrror
© Copyright 2001TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2001
Drug case declared a mistrial
■ Latest dismissal
marks five incidents in Blair County courts since January 2000.
By Phil Ray
HOLLIDAYSBURG — A drug case tossed out by Judge Hiram Carpenter Monday was the latest in a string of mistrials that have plagued Blair County courts. Carpenter had warned Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman not to ask questions that
implied 47-year-old William L. Reeseman of
Altoona gave a police informant OxyContin several times Aug. 17. Reeseman was charged with only one sale, and the judge wanted the trial to focus on that incident.
But when the informant indicated that Reeseman had provided the prescription drug on more than one occasion to deliver to other
addicts, Carpenter declared a mistrial.
“The judge felt I encroached on an area I should not have encroached on,” Gorman said after the jury was sent home.
Gorman said the judge was wrong.
Gorman will reschedule the Reeseman case for another trial, and defense attorney Ed Zang will ask that charges be dismissed because of prosecutorial misconduct.
The drug case makes five mistrials declared in Blair courts since January 2000.
■ Two weeks ago, the Pennsylvania Superior Court overturned a ruling by Judge Norman D. Callan that dismissed charges of theft and assault against Larry Walls of Altoona, who allegedly was caught breaking into an automobile.
The Superior Court ruled that the prosecutor did not intentionally attempt to mislead the jury and reinstated the charges.
Judge Thomas G. Peoples declared a mistrial in the case in May after Walls’ statements, obtained after he told police he did not wish to talk to police, had been presented to the jury.
Please see Mistrial/Page A8
Manager: Records request too vague
By William Kibler and Jay Young
The city of Altoona didn’t honor a citizen’s request for financial documents recently because the request was too vague, too broad and would have required too much work to fulfill, the city manager told City Council Monday.
It’s been more than 35 days since Altoona resident Bob Cassarly submitted a written request to view “the list of payments or invoices paid by the city of Altoona during the month of July 2000.”
The request was made as part of a six-month Mirror investigation in which only 42 percent of area government agencies complied
with the Pennsylvania Right to Know law, which guarantees the public access to open records.
It might have taken four man-days to compile the requested list of all bills paid in July — from IO different accounts in multiple buildings, City Manager Joe Weakland said.
Please see Request/Page A8
VANDALS HIT DISTRICT JUSTICE’S OFFICE
Fire damages roof
Bombing during U.
accident kills five S. military testing
By John Donnelly
The Boston Globe
WASHINGTON — A U.S. Navy pilot, on a nighttime training mission Monday over the northwestern desert of Kuwait, dropped a 500-pound bomb that missed its target and killed four Americans and a New Zealand military observer, the Pentagon said. Five others were injured.
The training accident, coming only three weeks after U.S. and British jets fired on Iraqi central command radar sites, brought
new attention to the dangers facing U.S. servicemen in maintaining no-fly zones over the northern and southern regions of Iraq.
There were no immediate indications that the deadly accident would greatly influence the Bush administration’s ongoing review of its Iraq policy, however.
Pentagon officials said a singleseat F/A-18 Hornet jet, flying from the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, was on a routine training mission over the Udairi bombing range in
Kuwait, about 28 miles south of the Iraqi border.
In such training runs, a person on the ground will give a pilot nine different identification points for a target, often illuminating it with smoke or white phosphorous and then give final clearance — telling the pilot “cleared hot” — before the bomb is dropped.
It was not clear late Monday whether the person on the ground gave the wrong coordinates or the pilot aimed at the wrong target.
Please see Bomb/Page A8
- \ ' 03;
rUdairi range ' C] KUWAIT
accidentally dropped during exercise
r Camp Doha * ° Kuwait City
•Ahmed al Jaber
20 mi SAUDI 20 km ARABIA
Mediterranean Sea -7
SUDAN SAUDI ARABIA
300 mi 300 km
SOURCES: Joint Chiefs of Staff: ESR!
Democrats giving Conklin little help
By Claude R. Marx
The Associated ITess
WASHINGTON - National and Pennsylvania leaders in the Democratic Party have shown little enthusiasm for helping the campaign of Scott Conklin, their party’s nominee in the special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster.
The 9th District that Shuster represented from 1973 until resigning last month is heavily Republican.
The Democrats are focusing on races next year that they believe
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they have a better chance of winning, party officials said.
Conklin, chairman of the Centre County commissioners, will fare COP nominee Bill Shuster, the former congressman’s son, in the May 15 special election in the south central Pennsylvania district.
Please see Conklin/Page A8
Jaffa Mosque plans to remain competitive
in hosting events.
Mirror photos by Jason Sipes
Troy Spigelmyer (left) and Randy Spigelmyer of TRS Roofing, Williamsburg, pull a sheet of rubber roofing over the damaged roof of District Justice Elizabeth Doyle’s office on Union Street in Hollidaysburg.
County security concerns flare up after building burns
Another view of the damage at District Justice Elizabeth Doyle’s office. Molotov cocktails thrown on the roof caused about $5,000 damage over the weekend.
By Phil Ray
H OLLIDAYSBURG — Molotov cocktails tossed over
M the weekend onto the roof of the building used by
11 District Justice Elizabeth Doyle caused $5,000 damage and ignited a controversy among county employees over security in the courthouse and its related facilities.
When employees arrived at Doyle’s offices at 311 Union St. at 8 a.m. Monday, they noticed a bottle of gasoline lying behind the building, police said.
They thought nothing of it, but upon entering the two-story structure between the courthouse and the county prison, the smell of gasoline and kerosene was evident.
Police and firefighters were called.
An inspection revealed that someone had tossed six bottles of accelerant onto the roof of Doyle’s building.
Hollidaysburg Detective Sgt. Thomas O’Leary said Monday that the plastic, 2-liter bottles were plugged with paper towels and contained rifle shells.
Although none of the bottles on the roof had been lit, O’Leary speculated that the perpetrators had set at least one bottle on fire because an area of the roof about 12-by-15 feet had been scorched.
Aside from that one area of the roof, the building had not caught on fire.
Please see Fire/Page A8