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Monessen shooting suspect faces trial

| Saturday, June 7, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
James 'Boozy' Womack

A Monessen man was ordered to stand trial on charges stemming from a May 3 shooting incident on Knox Avenue.

James “Boozy” Womack, 22, of 128 Schoonmaker Ave. appeared Friday for a preliminary hearing in Monessen before Magisterial District Judge Joseph Dalfonso.

Womack is charged with possession of a firearm prohibited, recklessly endangering another person, criminal mischief and receiving stolen property.

A charge of aggravated assault was dismissed.

Monessen police Lt. Carl Fronzaglio arrested Womack after witnesses allegedly identified him as the man they saw firing shots about 4:30 p.m. May 3 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 encountered Cordaro Jackson, whom police said was unruly.

Defense attorney Adam B. Cogan asked if Fronzaglio received permission to enter Jackson's residence.

“He had already let me in,” Fronzaglio testified. “I was already two to three feet in the door and could see four people running up the stairs.”

Fronzaglio said Jackson, “started getting in my face. He was nose-to-nose with me.”

Fronzaglio said he was able to immediately identify two of the four people, Jalen Madison and Juwan Mull. Neither have been charged in the case.

Womack was found hiding in an upstairs closet, Fronzaglio said.

The lieutenant said he also saw money in plain view on a closet shelf. Police said the cash totaled $11,850.

Investigators claimed they found a gray, hooded sweatshirt that matched the description of the shirt the alleged shooter was wearing.

They also found a black backpack under a car parked in front of Jackson's residence. A Kahr 9 mm handgun was found inside. Police said witnesses reported seeing the shooting 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.

Dalfonso said success in the case will depend on DNA testing of evidence.

Fronzaglio testified that he was unsure of the status of the testing, which is in the hands of Westmoreland County detectives.

Recalling the day of the arrest, Fronzaglio testified that while being processed at the police station, Womack continuously commented about Fronzaglio and the lieutenant's family.

At the hearing Friday, Womack, sat slouched in his chair and stared at the officer as Fronzaglio testified.

At one point, Womack mumbled something, which apparently irked Fronzaglio.

“Do you have something else you want to say to me James?” Fronzaglio asked Womack after the hearing. “You're not going to intimidate me or my family, I can assure you of that.”

“No sir, he didn't,” Cogan said as a sheriff's deputy escorted Womack out of the courtroom.

“Trust me, James, I'm not afraid of you,” Fronzaglio said before Dalfonso intervened and ended the encounter.

Cogan later apologized for Womack.

Womack was returned to the Westmoreland County Prison in Hempfield Township, where he is being held in lieu of $150,000 straight-cash bond for the shooting case and the same amount for drug-related charges.

Jackson, 25, is faces 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.