The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 6, 2012

In brief: Sentencing scheduled in drug, weapon case

JOHNSTOWN — A Johnstown man faces the possibility of decades in prison for dealing heroin and carrying a 12-gauge shotgun despite a previous felony conviction, federal prosecutors said Thurs-


Michael N. Cooper, 32, of Fairfield Avenue, pleaded guilty to violating federal narcotics and firearms laws before federal District Judge Kim R. Gibson.

Prosecutors said he delivered heroin on three separate occasions in June 2011, at one point while armed.

His sentencing is scheduled for April 22.

Man held for trial in tot’s arson death

ALTOONA – Authorities say the fire that killed a Pennsylvania toddler last month was set with racial motivations, even though the intended target wasn’t inside.

Aaron Wilson Dishong, 62, was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on homicide, arson and related charges for the Nov. 15 blaze that killed 3-year-old Darrel Etchison Jr. in Altoona. The boy’s mother and little sister escaped the blaze.

Investigators said Dishong was angry at an ex-girlfriend he believed was in the house because she was dating a black man. Authorities said the woman had left the home the previous night.

A neighbor testified Dishong told her he’d set the fire. In a phone conversation later recorded by police, Dishong said he hired a Ku Klux Klan member to do it.

Dishong’s attorney said there’s no direct evidence his client set the fire.

1,000 pounds of copper stolen

SALISBURY – Someone stole 1,000 pounds of copper from South Side Salvage, 10268 Mason Dixon Highway, south of Salisbury, state police said.

The copper, valued at around $3,000, was taken late Monday or early Tuesday.

Borough asks court for help with building

EBENSBURG – Portage Borough has asked the county court to order a building owner to make corrections to dangerous conditions, including a crumbling roof, within 30 days.

The borough also is asking that owner Nicholas Sekerak Jr. be  fined an amount to be determined by the court for allegedly failing to even try to make improvements to the structure at 813 Gillespie Ave. despite promises to do so, borough solicitor Michael Emerick said.

Daily fines should be imposed until the conditions are corrected, the borough suggested.

Sekerak, who could not be reached for comment, had told borough officials in March that he needed 30 days to hire a contractor, but allegedly failed to do so.

In January, an inspector for the borough advised that at least 30 feet of the building’s roof had collapsed, according to the lawsuit. Walls already were bowing out at that time, it was reported.

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