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DA says man's conviction in Ligonier tavern shooting should stand

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
Tribune-Review
A Westmoreland County judge upheld the first-degree murder conviction on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, against Stephen P. Fromholz of Texas who gunned down a Ligonier Township bar patron in 2011. Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Donald Holler, 65, Cook Township

Westmoreland County prosecutors contend a first-degree murder conviction against a former Texas man charged with gunning down a Ligonier bar patron in 2011 should stand.

In court documents filed on Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Tom Grace argued that jurors had enough evidence to find Steven Fromholz, 43, of San Antonio guilty of shooting 65-year-old Donald Holler of Cook Township with the intent to kill.

In August, jurors found that Fromholz fired one shot from an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle into Holler's back on July 11, 2011.

Witnesses testified that the two men argued at Fat Daddy's Place on Route 30 over a news program on the television.

Fromholz left the bar but returned seconds later with the rifle and shot Holler, witnesses said.

Fromholz was sentenced to a mandatory term of life in prison.

In an appeal filed this year, lawyers for Fromholz said there was not enough evidence to support the first-degree finding.

At trial, the defense argued that Fromholz should be convicted of third-degree murder because he was too drunk to form an intent to kill.

Third-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

The prosecution argued that Fromholz was not intoxicated to the point of rendering him unable to understand his actions and that a new trial should not be granted.

“The jury's verdict was entirely proper in this case,” Grace wrote in his legal argument.

Judge Al Bell will consider the defense request for a new trial.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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