The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 20, 2013

Jury acquits man of friend’s death

Kathy Mellott
kmellott@tribdem.com

BEDFORD — A jury of eight women and four men took less than 45 minutes Thursday to acquit Randy Scott Foor of criminal action in the death of a western Bedford County man.

Foor, 52, of Chalybeate Road, Bedford, in the first show of emotion during the two-day trial, smiled broadly as he indicated his gratefulness to the jury and embraced his defense attorney, Thomas Dickey.

After the jury was dismissed and court recessed, a man identified as Foor’s father approached Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins in an aggressive manner.

“You’ve run down my family,” said the man, inches away from Higgins.

Sheriff’s deputies intervened and emptied the courtroom.

Foor had been charged with involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault in the death of Dennis Sprigg, 49, of Manns Choice, a man who Foor said was his best friend and like a brother.

Following the verdict, Sprigg’s mother, who sat through the two days of testimony, said she was extremely disappointed in the not-guilty verdict on both counts.

“My son’s death doesn’t mean anything to anyone. It doesn’t mean anything in Bedford County,” Shirley Sprigg said.

Dennis Sprigg was attending a party at Foor’s house on Aug. 11 when the two got into an argument that started over Sprigg’s playing softball on Foor’s team. It evolved into an argument about traffic accidents that Sprigg had, according to testimony by witnesses on both days.

Foor pushed  Sprigg, and the degree of force Foor used to push Sprigg became an issue in testimony during the two day-trial.

Sprigg fell backwards and struck his head on a paved area near a carport at the Foor home.

The impact was loud enough that some witnesses in the area said they heard Sprigg’s head hitting the pavement.

Sprig was taken by medical helicopter to Memorial Medical Center in  Johnstown, where he remained unconscious for six weeks.

In the third week of September, Sprigg was transferred to a nursing home in Bedford County where he died a week later.

Memorial Medical pathologist Dr. Manjunath Heggere, who performed the autopsy on Sprigg, said he died of blunt force trauma to the head. Sprigg sustained a number of broken bones in his skull, including one at the back of the head, which is the thickest bone in the skull.

“In my opinion, this probably resulted from a substantial push, a strong push with the head hitting something,” Heggere said.

There was conflicting testimony by witnesses regarding the push.

Foor did not take the stand in his own defense, and Dickey offered no other witnesses.

He argued to the jury that Foor was acting in self-defense.

Following the verdict, Dickey said it was apparent the jurors put themselves in Foor’s shoes.

“There was a push, just one push,” Dickey said.

Higgins said he went into the trial knowing it would be difficult.

“It was borderline,” Higgins said. “They had a party and they all stood behind the guy, and we respect the jury’s verdict.”

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