The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

November 21, 2012

Murder suspect: Throw out testimony

EBENSBURG — Judge Norman Krumenacker is faced with deciding whether a jury in an upcoming homicide trial will get to hear about a brief outburst which one defendant – the alleged shooter – made to a New Jersey policeman about murdering people.

Also, the judge is being asked to toss out the charges against a second defendant – the alleged getaway driver – because, his attorney says, merely being a driver is not accomplice liability.

Marquis “G” Neal, 30, the alleged triggerman, and his cousin, Anthony “Mac” Harvey, 30, both of Philadelphia, are charged with first-degree murder and related offenses in the Oct. 1, 2011, slaying of J-Quan Lewis, 21, of New York City.

The legal issues were raised Tuesday at a pretrial hearing before Krumenacker.

Lewis, who had been staying in Johnstown prior to his death, was shot in the parking lot at the Oakhurst Homes housing project in Johnstown. He was shot several times when Neal allegedly fired a handgun at him at close range, police said. Neal then got into a van allegedly driven by Harvey, police said.

Jury selection for their trial is scheduled for Jan. 7, although Krumenacker has not yet ruled whether the cases will be consolidated in one trial.

Both defendants left Johnstown after the shooting. Harvey was arrested on Nov 21, 2011, in Delaware County.

Neal was not taken into custody until March 6 in Gloucester County, N.J.

Officer Benjamin Lloyd from Gloucester County testified that he stopped a car in the early morning hours of March 6 after he observed that a headlight was not working.

Lloyd saw Neal in the back seat, not wearing a seat belt.

Neal, who appeared to have been asleep, gave the officer false names and eventually said there was a warrant out for him, Lloyd said. Neal then was taken to the police station, where he became angry when told that he was going to be fingerprinted, the policeman testified. The police wanted to do a computerized search of fingerprints in order to identify Neal, Lloyd said.

After calling the officer a racist, Neal allegedly lashed our verbally, using obscenities.

Lloyd testified that Neal said, “I murder mother-(expletive). The U.S. Marshals have a warrant for me. I’m Marquis Neal. Look me up.”

After that outburst, “he shut down and didn’t say another word,” Lloyd said.

The officer said that the suspect – who had not been advised of his rights to remain silent – did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and did not refer to any specific murder anywhere. In addition to the Cambria County warrant for his arrest on homicide, Neal had unrelated warrants in New Jersey for custody and child support issues, Lloyd said.

Attorney Robert Davis Gleason, one of Neal’s court-appointed attorneys, suggested to the judge that the outburst by Neal was “swagger” to gain street credibility by bragging about crimes never committed.

Another defense attorney, Paul Eckenrode, said that the police had no reason to detain Neal on a seat-belt violation and said that statement should be suppressed.

But Assistant District Attorney Tamara Bernstein said that Neal’s statement was a “spontaneous utterance,” which courts have ruled can be used as evidence at trial even when a defendant has not yet been advised of his right to remain silent.

In the Harvey case, defense attorney Jerome Kaharick said that the prosecution has failed to show any evidence that Harvey solicited, aided or abetted Neal in the shooting.

District Attorney Kelly Callihan called a witness who had not been heard at the preliminary hearing to testify about a confrontation Harvey and the victim had late on Sept. 30 and early on Oct. 1, 2011, in and outside Edder’s Den, a bar near the Oakhurst Homes. This occurred prior to the shooting.

Bradley Clark, a part-time bartender, said that Lewis – who was known as “Scar” – was there celebrating his 21st birthday.  After Harvey entered the bar, Clark said that he saw the two men start to talk “angrily and were scuffling. Mac (Harvey) threw his arms up like ‘I don’t have a beef with you,’ ” the bartender recalled.

He told the two men “to take it outside,” where he saw they were fighting.

“Scar picked Mac up and threw him down head first on the street, ‘G’ (Neal) pulled up in a van and tried to break it up, and Scar picked up Mac and threw him back down,” Clark said.

Neal was driving a maroon van with damage on the front – the description of the van witnesses observed driving Neal away from the shooting scene later on Oct. 1, Callihan said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Flower2 Flowers' color doesn't have to fade

    Those pots of bright yellow daffodils, Easter lilies and hyacinths gracing the home this weekend do not have to end up in the trash bin when the blooms start to fade.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Refinancing could lower Richland School District's debt by $2.2M

    When Richland School District borrowed funds for its high school project a decade ago, board members circled “2014” on their calendars as a likely first option to refinance the debt.

    April 20, 2014

  • Pipeline to carry shale byproducts

    An 8-inch transmission line crossing Pennsylvania, including four municipalities in Cambria County, is being repurposed to carry some of the by-products from Marcellus and Utica shale production.

    April 20, 2014

  • Judge Creany, Timothy Vets courts gain support

    Signs of success are mostly anecdotal in Pennsylvania’s special courts for veterans, but judicial officials and lawmakers are so convinced of the program, they’re lobbying to expand it.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • pow21 Person of the Week: ‘I wanted to help’: Teen uses birthday to show love for children, animals

    Anastasia Machik’s love for children and animals inspired her to forgo her birthday gifts for the sake of the two.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Students taking steps to call attention to child abuse

    An upcoming community walk will help raise awareness of child abuse.

    April 20, 2014

  • In brief: PennDOT reports weekly work schedule

    April 20, 2014

  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads