The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 4, 2013

Guilty plea withdrawn in shooting

EBENSBURG — Minutes before a Portage man was to be sentenced on charges that he shot another man in what police say was a drug-related incident, he told the judge that he’d changed his mind.

Benjamin Gordon Schoenfeld, 33, of the 900 block of Jefferson Avenue, through his attorney, Thomas Dickey, said he was acting in self-defense when he shot Donald E. Lewis III in December.

“He believes he is innocent and has a defense of self-defense,” Dickey told Cambria County Judge David Tulowitzki on Monday. “He wants to go to trial.”

Schoenfeld was charged late last year with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and recklessly endangering another person.

On Sept. 12, he entered a guilty plea in Cambria County court to one count of aggravated assault, a felony of the second degree.

At the time of the shooting, Portage police said they were dispatched to Lewis’ residence in the 600 block of Maken Street.

Portage Chief Ed Miller said at the time that Schoenfeld allegedly pounded on the door and shot Lewis through the door’s glass window.

Lewis received a gunshot wound to an arm and was taken to Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown for a wound that police said did not appear to be life threatening.

Schoenfeld fled the scene and reportedly returned to his home before he turned himself into police without incident, Miller said.

The handgun used in the shooting was later recovered.

Cambria County Assistant District Attorney Beth Bolton Penna told the judge she learned of the request to withdraw the plea 15 minutes before the scheduled sentencing.

She said she had no time to prepare a response to the request and has concerns over availability of witnesses and the victim.

“This case has been dragged out for some time, and I ask no continuances be granted and we go to trial the next term,” she said.

Penna said that if Schoenfeld again changes his mind he will not “get anything this light” as the deal being rejected.

Tulowitzki said he will take the matter up again on Nov. 13.

Kathy Mellott covers the Cambria County courthouse for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/kathymellotttd.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • foust_25 Teen shot in Oakhurst

    A 16-year-old New Jersey boy was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center on Thursday after being shot three times in the Oakhurst section of Johnstown.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Audit: City overspent by $700G in 2013

    Legacy costs contributed significantly to the city of Johnstown coming up $689,000 short in its core services funding during 2013.

    July 24, 2014

  • Kuzma, jonathan Guilty plea in hammer death

    The Johnstown man who authorities said killed his father with a hammer last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal homicide, authorities said.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • quecreek rescue Events to mark anniversary of Quecreek rescue

    When word spread that nine Quecreek miners were trapped underground in July 2002, Bill Arnold’s dairy farm quickly became the rescue effort’s ground zero.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huger, Stephen Accused Hornerstown shooter will stand trial

    A Johnstown man will stand trial in connection with a July 12 shooting in the Hornerstown section of the city.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tribune Treasure!

    July 24, 2014

  • Board names Zahorchak’s successor

    The Greater Johnstown school board at a special meeting Thursday named a superintendent to replace the retiring superintendent, rehired its last business manager and approved other administrative appointments.

    July 24, 2014

  • Pasquerilla, Mark Pasquerilla recognized as arts patron

    First lady Susan Corbett announced Thursday from the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pa., that Mark Pasquerilla of Johnstown has earned the Patron Award from the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ebensburg gets ready to party

    Party down with a shutdown.
    Downtown Shutdown, a street party featuring music and food, will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday in downtown Ebensburg.

    July 24, 2014

  • ROTARY Local Rotary Club earns recognition

    The Rotary Club of Johnstown was named Outstanding Large Club of the Year in District 7330, which serves 42 Rotary Clubs in seven counties in southwest Pennsylvania, at the Rotary District 7330 and District 7300 Joint Conference that was held June 26 through 29 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
House Ads