Vasquez takes plea, gets 5-20 in state prison
By JIM RUNKLE
LOCK HAVEN – Jamal Lee Vasquez was sentenced to five to 20 years in state prison this week in connection with the attempted murder of a city man on West Park Street on Dec. 27, 2013.
“Mel” Vasquez was initially charged with attempted homicide in the shooting of James Davis, 26, of Lock Haven, but later pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in connection with the incident.
His co-defendant, Jaermel Wilson, 35, of 35 Barns St., Hazelton, remains scheduled for jury selection in early March on related charges, but according to court records, played a lesser role in the shooting incident.
Given earlier indications that Wilson would be testifying against Vasquez, and given Vasquez has been sentenced, it’s likely Wilson and the district attorney’s office will reach an accord in the near future.
Wilson was released on nominal bail but still faces charges of criminal attempted homicide and conspiracy to commit criminal homicide, aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, all F-1 felonies.
Charges were dismissed earlier this year against a third person charged in the aftermath of the incident, Stephanie Collins, 24, of Lock Haven.
Wilson is represented by public defender David Strouse. Vasquez was represented by public defender David Lindsay. District Attorney Karen Kuebler represents the commonwealth.
Wilson told police that on the day in question he was at the home of Vasquez and Collins, where he had been staying, when somebody called and said that “Jimmy” was in the area. Wilson said he knew that Vasquez carried a grudge against James Davis, because Davis and others had robbed Wilson and broke Vasquez’s leg during that robbery, two weeks before Christmas.
When they finally came upon the victim, Wilson said that Vasquez got out of the vehicle, approached Davis, and said, “What’s up now? … What’s up now?” several times before pulling out a gun and shooting him three or four times… “He said he just wanted to fight him and wanted me to hold him down,” Wilson said at the preliminary hearing.
Davis was shot multiple times but survived the attack. He underwent surgery for his injuries at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.
Davis himself was arrested last October on charges relating to a strong-arm robbery and is currently scheduled for jury selection March 13 with trial to follow.
Police allege Davis assaulted Kurtis Michael Cunningham, 26, after knocking the victim to the floor and rifling through his pockets. for $50 cash, a silver Zippo lighter, state issued driver’s license, a knife and his social security card. Also taken, Cunningham said, were Magic the Gathering playing cards.
Davis remains in the Clinton County Correctional Facility pending legal action.