Man charged with attempted homicide

Charges filed in MH shooting incident

LOCK HAVEN — Joseph James Newman Jr., 44, of 22 E. Arch St., formerly charged with aggravated assault, is now charged with attempted homicide as well, for an incident in which shots were fired Aug. 22 in Mill Hall.

The new  charges, including another criminal count of aggravated assault, two counts of terroristic threats and two counts of simple assault, were filed Monday in the office of District Judge John W. Maggs, who increased Newman’s bail from $200,000 to $500,000 due to the seriousness of the alleged  crime.

On Tuesday, Newman’s co-defendant, Michael J. Bingaman, 24, of 114 Clinton Ave., Mill Hall, waived his right to a preliminary hearing on charges of  conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and possession of a prohibited firearm.

Newman who remains in the Clinton County Correctional Facility in default of  bail, faces a first appearance in Central District Court next Tuesday.

Bingaman is apparently free on $100,000 bail, according to the most recent report from the correctional facility.

At an earlier hearing, District Attorney Dave Strouse argued that his intention to file attempted homicide charges, coupled with the defendant’s use of a gun – the possession of which was prohibited due to an earlier felony conviction – merited the higher bail.

Newman’s attorney is Bernard Cantorna. Bingaman is being represented by attorney Thom Rosamilia.

According to the criminal complaint, the episode began at 9:25 p.m. Aug. 22 when many calls were made reporting shots fired near a local pharmacy, state police said.

When troopers arrived, they talked to Gary Allen Lucas of Flemington, who told them Newman had pointed a gun at him, according to the arrest affidavit.

Lucas told police that Newman said he was “going to end this tonight” while holding a pistol and aiming it at him. Newman pointed the handgun at Lucas’ head, then he shot one round, police said. The second round went off as Lucas attempted to grab the firearm, police said.

Lucas was not hit, police said.

As the situation continued, police said, Bingaman approached. That’s when Newman told Bingaman to shoot the knees off Lucas, police said.

Lucas was holding Newman and kept Newman between himself and Bingaman when Bingaman fired at Lucas twice, but missed him both times, police said.

At an earlier  hearing, attorney Cantorna characterized the confrontation in a very different way, saying 10 to 15 members of the “Outsiders” motorcycle gang descended on the Newman residence, intending to cause havoc and harm to the defendant and his three friends who were all beaten “fairly well” during the confrontation.

Cantorna also said the appearance of a knife offered a legal argument for self-defense.

Strouse noted the seriousness of the charges and said, if convicted of all other pending criminal counts not including the as-yet unfiled attempted homicide count, Newman faces at minimum, an extended stay in a state prison.

Court records say police recovered a black 9mm Taurus and a black 9mm Sig Sauer from the scene, and strike marks attributed to bullet impacts were observed in the pavement. Three 9mm shell casings and a partial 9mm bullet fragment was recovered at the scene, police said.

Numerous witnesses were located during the investigation, and one witness provided a written statement saying he observed Newman and Bingaman fire rounds from handguns in the vicinity of the victim.

A background check on Newman uncovered a guilty plea to an earlier burglary, which is a felony of the first degree. The crime prohibits Newman from owning a firearm or having one in his possession.

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