The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 9, 2013

Portage resident convicted on firearm charge

Kathy Mellott
kmellott@tribdem.com

EBENSBURG — A jury of six men and six women deliberated just 45 minutes before finding a Portage man guilty of possessing a firearm, a violation of state law because of his criminal record.

Anthony “Tony” Wayne Moyer, 52, of the 900 block of Caldwell Avenue, is scheduled to be sentenced May 16.

Judge Linda Fleming placed Moyer under the supervision of the Cambria County Probation Office. She allowed him to remain on bail but with severe restrictions.

Moyer still faces trial on charges of aggravated and simple assault, terroristic threats and reckless endangerment.  the The firearms charge was tried separately at the defense’s request.

All of the charges stem from a Jan. 22, 2012, incident.

Borough police alleged that Moyer pointed a gun at an officer responding to a report that the defendant created a disturbance at a neighboring home.

Portage Officer Donald Wyar testified that when he knocked at the door of Moyer’s mobile home, he was met with a handgun about 4 inches from his face. The door was closed, but Wyar said he clearly saw Moyer and the gun pointed at him through a small window.

“I ducked and yelled ‘gun,’ then left the porch,” Wyar said.

He and a Summerhill Township police officer left to seek reinforcements.

After obtaining a search warrant, police found the gun behind the clothes dryer.

Clerk of Courts Susan Kuhar presented records showing Moyer pleaded guilty in 1995 to a charge of unlawful restraint, a crime that makes it illegal for him to possess a firearm.

Portage police Chief Ed Mi­l­ler testified that on three occasions following the incident at Moyer’s home, the defendant told him that he had a gun.

“He said that he has a gun with him every time he answers the door,” Miller testified.

Moyer apparently has had trouble with some people, the chief said.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Thomas Dickey re­minded the jury the unlawful restraint charge dates back nearly 20 years and that Moyer didn’t use the firearm in public.

“He only had a gun for protection,” Dickey said. “The only reason he possessed that gun was to protect himself in his own home.”

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Persio said the fact remains that Moyer is not permitted to possess a gun.

“Every time he goes to the door he takes a gun,” Persio said. “He can take a bat, he can take a stick, he can take a crowbar, but not a gun.”

Following the verdict, Dickey said his client had been told serveral years ago by a sheriff’s deputy that he was allowed to have a firearm because the charge to which he pleaded guilty in 1995 was not a felony.

 

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