Monessen man facing trial in drug case
A Monessen man who is a suspect in a shooting last month faces trial on drug charges in a separate case.
James S. “Boozy” Womack, 22, of 128 Schoonmaker Ave. appeared for three preliminary hearings Friday before Magisterial District Judge Joseph Dalfonso in Monessen.
Womack was ordered to stand trial on drug charges stemming from his arrest April 5 in the Denny's parking lot in Rostraver Township. Charges related to domestic assault were withdrawn in a second case. A hearing on drug charges from a May 3 shooting on Knox Avenue in Monessen was continued.
Charges of aggravated assault and simple assault were withdrawn Friday after the alleged victim, Samone Stepoli of Monessen, declined to testify.
Monessen police were called to the intersection of 10th Street and McMahon Avenue on April 3, when Stepoli allegedly told police her boyfriend, Womack, had pulled her out of the vehicle and punched her before knocking her to the ground. Stepoli refused medical attention despite having a swollen face, abrasions on her back and a large abrasion on her left knee.
Stepoli stayed in the courtroom for Womack's preliminary hearing on drug charges.
Handcuffed and wearing Westmoreland County Prison attire, Womack spoke briefly to his attorney, Adam B. Cogan of Ligonier.
Womack and Aaron Jackson were arrested April 5 by Monessen police Lt. James Smith and members of the state Attorney General's drug task force.
Investigators claim they found two bundles of suspected heroin in Womack's pocket and one brick of suspected heroin in Jackson's back pocket.
Womack also had a Holiday Inn Express room key card in his pocket, Smith said.
Both were in possession of thousands of dollars, police said.
Agents allegedly found 13 bricks of suspected heroin tucked under a mattress in their room at the Rostraver Township hotel.
Smith testified Friday that they were conducting surveillance when he received a tip from a task force member that Womack was staying at the hotel.
Smith said he knew Womack was wanted on a warrant in the Stepoli case.
He told Westmoreland County Assistant District Attorney Jackie Knupp that Womack and Jackson were seen leaving the hotel in a maroon Ford Explorer.
They followed them to the Denny's parking lot, where the suspects were arrested, Smith said.
Smith testified that Womack had a large amount of cash and heroin at the scene.
Under cross-examination by Cogan, Smith said two unidentified people were in the SUV with Womack and Jackson as it left the hotel.
Smith testified that when investigators returned to the Holiday Inn, they secured the room in which the men were staying and waited for a search warrant to be obtained.
Smith said that in addition to the suspected heroin, investigators found heroin packaging material in a nightstand next to a bed and blood-stained khaki pants.
Cogan argued that the charge of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver related to the drugs seized at Denny's should be dismissed.
“Without knowing (the amount of drugs), we can't affirm that there was an intent to deliver,” Cogan said.
Womack was ordered to stand trial on an additional count of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy.
Jackson faces the same charges and is wanted on a warrant for failing to appear for a May 2 hearing before Dalfonso.
Shooting case continued
Womack's preliminary hearing on charges related to a May 3 shooting in Monessen was continued as investigators await lab results.
Monessen police Lt. Carl Fronzaglio arrested Womack that night after witnesses allegedly identified him as the man they saw firing shots about 4:30 p.m. outside 6 Knox Ave. Police believe the shooting was drug related.
No one was wounded, but a house and a car were damaged by gunfire. One witness chased the suspect after the shooting, while others told Fronzaglio they saw the shooter run into a house at 518 Second St.
When Fronzaglio entered the house, he was met by an allegedly confrontational Cordaro Jackson, police said.
Womack was found hiding in an upstairs closet, police said. Fronzaglio said he saw $11,850 in plain view on a closet shelf.
Police said a Kahr 9 mm handgun was found inside a black backpack under a car parked in front of Jackson's residence. Police said witnesses reported seeing the suspect in possession of a black backpack.
Police said they found a loaded Taurus .38 Special revolver in Jackson's house and a loaded 9 mm Ruger handgun in a garbage can.
Five shell casings were recovered at the Knox Avenue shooting scene.
Womack is charged with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm prohibited, recklessly endangering another person, criminal mischief and receiving stolen property.
Knupp requested the continuance because prosecutors are waiting for DNA test results from the backpack and ballistic reports for the guns from Jackson's house and the backpack.
Dalfonso continued the hearing to 9 a.m. June 6.
Womack was returned to the Westmoreland County Prison in Hempfield Township, where he is being held in lieu of $150,000 straight-cash bond.
Cordaro Jackson, 25, was charged with two felony counts of possession of a firearm prohibited and misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property and hindering apprehension.
He faces a hearing before Dalfonso 9:45 a.m. July 11. He remains in the Westmoreland County Prison on charges from unrelated cases. No bond information was available.
Stacy Wolford is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-684-2640 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.