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January 11, 2014

Alleged shooter fights suppression of statements made after arrest

EBENSBURG — A jury should be allowed to hear statements that a Portage man made to police following his arrest on charges that he shot an acquaintance, his defense attorney maintains.

Benjamin Gordon Schoenfeld, 34, of the 900 block of Jefferson Avenue, also is asking to have his bail reduced so he can get out of jail while awaiting trial.

Schoenfeld was arrested Dec. 11, 2011, and charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and reckless endangerment in the shooting of Donald Lewis III, 35, early that morning.

Since then, Schoenfeld has been in the Cambria County Prison in lieu of $125,000 bond.

The incident took place at Lewis’ residence in the 600 block of Makin Street in Portage.

Local police alleged that the defendant pounded on Lewis’ door, then shot him through the glass window.

Schoenfeld pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, in September.

But at a sentencing hearing on Nov. 3, Schoenfeld told Cambria County Judge David Tulowitzki that he wanted to back out of the deal.

A week later, Tulowitzki agreed to release Schoenfeld from the deal after the defendant testified that he acted in self-defense.

Creany told defense attorney Thomas Dickey that he will take testimony Thursday on the motion to suppress statements Schoenfeld made to police at the time of the incident.

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

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