Trial begins in Uniontown bar shooting that injured men, woman
By Renatta Signorini
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Two victims testified on Wednesday that they have scars from gunshot wounds as a result of an argument outside a Uniontown bar on April 24, 2011.
Patrick Samuel said he was talking to Calvin Jay Huffman and a third, unidentified person outside Splash around 3 a.m.
“All I remember is that we was talking and in the process of talking, I heard a gunshot go off,” said Samuel of Redstone Township.
Trial on attempted homicide charges against Huffman, 26, of Uniontown began Wednesday afternoon before Judge John F. Wagner Jr. Huffman wore a dark gray suit and sported a shaved head and glasses with thick, black frames.
The prosecution is expected to rest on Thursday, and the defense will present its case. The jury could begin deliberations later in the day.
“Don't allow the brevity of this trial to detract from the gravity of the situation,” Assistant District Attorney J.W. Eddy told jurors in his opening statements.
The panel of seven men and five women listened as Samuel told Defense Attorney Charles Hoebler on cross-examination that Huffman was not the person who shot him in a forearm and buttocks.
“Everything was cool when we was talking” outside of Splash near Fayette Street and Feathers Avenue, Samuel testified. “And then I heard a gunshot go off, and I ran.”
Samuel conceded that he had been drinking for much of the evening and that made it difficult for him to recall details.
Monique Curry of Uniontown also suffered gunshot wounds to the buttocks and lower back. She was sitting in the passenger seat of her Nissan Armada, playing a game on her cell phone when she heard three men arguing in the middle of Feathers Avenue.
Samuel said, “Go ahead and shoot me; I'm not scared to die,” according to Curry's testimony.
Seconds later, Curry testified that she heard gunshots and took cover. She said she saw Huffman pull the trigger.
Both victims were treated at hospitals and released.
Lauren Hice laid out her version of the night's events for jurors. Hice testified that she and Huffman, an acquaintance, made plans to hang out on the evening of April 23, 2011. The pair had a late dinner and went to Splash with two others, including Huffman's sister and her boyfriend, Hice testified.
After the group left Splash, Huffman and another woman realized they had forgotten their jackets at the bar. Hice testified that she drove herself and the defendant back to the bar and waited in her Volkswagen Jetta while he went inside.
A couple of minutes later, she heard an argument in the street behind her car.
“I heard voices; I couldn't hear what they were saying,” she testified, adding that one of the voices was agitated and belonged to Huffman. “I then heard shots fired, so I ducked down in my car seat until they subsided.”
None of the victims could estimate the number of shots fired.
Huffman returned to Hice's car and pointed a gun at her face, demanding she drive away. Hice refused at first.
“He was bleeding from the back of his right shoulder,” Hice testified.
They later fled and were picked up elsewhere in the city by Huffman's sister because the car had a flat tire.
Hice testified that once they returned to Huffman's sister's home, they put the bloody clothing and gun in a garbage bag. She spent the night there, and Huffman was picked up by an unknown person, Hice said.
She later turned her car in to city police. Prosecutors entered a few photos into evidence that show the damage to Hice's car and Curry's truck from gunshots.
Hice told Hoebler on cross-examination that she and Huffman were friends and not romantically involved.
Hoebler also asked whether Hice had struck a deal with prosecutors on a pending burglary case in return for her testimony.
“You're telling us that no promises were made to you regarding your testimony today?” Hoebler asked on cross-examination.
“No,” Hice said.
Huffman is charged with two counts each of attempted homicide, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault, five counts of simple assault and single counts each of discharging a gun into an occupied structure, unlawful possession of a firearm, tampering with evidence and criminal mischief.
He remains jailed on $500,000 bail.
Wednesday marked the second time a jury has been seated in the case. A mistrial was declared by Judge Ralph Warman in June after a juror met behind closed doors with the judge and both attorneys.
No one would comment on the reason for a mistrial at the time. Attorneys were prepared to give opening statements.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374or email@example.com.
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