The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 4, 2013

Boy in dare-game death to undergo evaluation

Kathy Mellott

BEDFORD — An Everett-area teen who took a gun to a friend’s house for a Russian roulette game that caused the death of a third boy waived his right to an adjudication hearing Friday.

The boy, now 16, is charged as a juvenile with recklessly endangering another person.

He was taken to Adelphoi Village’s Miller Home in Apollo, Armstrong County, where he will be evaluated, a process that will take three to four months, Bedford County Assistant District Attorney Lesley Childers-Potts said.

District Attorney William Higgins said that if the teen does well at Adelphoi, the prosecution will not object to his being released from the juvenile system. The teen will appear before Ling following the evaluation.

Bedford County President Judge Thomas Ling reminded the teen that Adelphoi counselors may question him regarding the role he played in the death of Neal Hammond, 15, also from the Everett area. Ling said any information the teen provides to counselors regarding the shooting will not be “used against him in front of me.”

The teen’s attorney, Terry Despoy of Altoona, said the defense is not disputing the facts in the case.

Police alleged that the teen took his mother’s .38-caliber revolver to the West Providence Township home of Cole McConoughey, where the three boys were going to have a sleepover July 20. The boys, all 15 at the time, engaged in a game of Russian roulette. McConoughey pulled the trigger and a bullet struck Hammond, also of the Everett area. He died later at Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown.

McConoughey was first charged as an adult with involuntary manslaughter. His case was later transferred to the juvenile system. Last month, Ling ordered McConoughey to spend three months at Adelphoi Village in Connellsville, Fayette County, as part of his rehabilitation.

The gun’s owner, 41-year-old Susan Bonner of Everett, has been charged with furnishing a firearm to a minor and recklessly endangering another person. Her case is pending in Bedford County adult court, Higgins said.