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Beaver County deputy ordered to stand trial for obstruction, false swearing

| Thursday, July 24, 2014, 12:27 p.m.

Had one of Beaver County Sheriff George David's deputies initially told investigators that David drew his gun during a heated confrontation with an online reporter, David would have been arrested almost immediately, eliminating the need for a lengthy and costly investigation, a state trooper testified on Thursday.

“The defendant was continuing not to be truthful up to the very end, and then he was truthful,” Cpl. Daniel Mosura testified at Deputy Lt. Thomas Ochs' hearing.

District Judge James DiBenedetto on Thursday ordered Ochs to stand trial on charges of false swearing and obstruction of justice. DiBenedetto dismissed charges of falsifying a report and hindering apprehension.

Ochs, 44, of Economy remains free on $2,500 unsecured bond and is suspended without pay from the sheriff's department.

A jury on July 11 acquitted David of charges of simple assault, witness intimidation and making terroristic threats related to an April 16, 2012, meeting with online reporter John Paul Vranesevich.

When questioned by state police on the day after the incident, Ochs denied that David had drawn his service revolver and denied it again in a written report about a week later, prosecutors said. Ochs told a grand jury on March 15, 2013, that David did draw his gun, prosecutors said.

Ochs also did not tell investigators and a grand jury that he and David spoke for hours after the April 16 incident, finally revealing that in October 2013. Ochs testified later that he forgot about the conversation, prosecutors said.

Senior Mercer County Judge Francis J. Fornelli decided Ochs could not testify in David's trial because of his conflicting statements, prosecutors said.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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