Vandalism suspects to face trial in Fayette
One of the six individuals charged in an overnight vandalism spree in June remains in prison and will stand trial following his preliminary hearing on Thursday.
The other four adults had their charges waived to Fayette County court. The juvenile will be tried in juvenile court.
Bernard “BJ” Wires, 30; Brittany Cornish, 20, and Tabatha Mitchell, 20, all of Connellsville had their charges waived to the Court of Common Pleas. They are free on $20,000 non-secured bonds following a negotiation with the Fayette County District Attorney's Office on Thursday.
They, along with Timothy Miller, 23, and Michael Metts, 26, were charged with criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy, disorderly conduct, corruption of minors and loitering/prowling at night for reportedly causing a trail of vandalism and damage from the south side to the north side of Connellsville in the early hours of June 24.
During Miller's preliminary hearing Thursday, Mitchell was called by the prosecution to testify about the incident.
She testified that she and the other five walked to Sheetz to purchase cigarettes and on the way back, she and Cornish decided to pick up flower pots and smashed them on the ground.
“It wasn't planned,” Mitchell said. “It just happened.”
“Just a random act of stupidity?” asked Public Defender Mary Campbell Spegar who represented Miller.
“Yes,” Mitchell replied.
When asked what acts of vandalism Miller committed, Mitchell said Miller was with the group, but she couldn't say exactly what he did because she did not see him the whole time.
Capt. Steven Shaffer with the Connellsville Police Department testified that he assisted in the investigation that morning and said Miller's name came up and he and the other five were discovered sitting on a porch along Johnson Avenue.
“He said he was with the other individuals and admitted to taking part in that activity,” Shaffer said about his interview with Miller.
He added that Miller also admitted to slashing tires and that a knife was found on the porch. “His statement was consistent with the confessions from the others.”
When asked by Spegar if the knife was checked for prints, Shaffer said it wasn't.
Connellsville Police Officer Bryan Kendi testified that there were 38 victims with nearly $12,000 in damages as a result of the vandalism spree.
Spegar asked Haggerty if Miller's bond could be reduced because the prosecution's witness was unable to say if Miller actually took part in the vandalism. Haggerty held all charges for county court with no change or reduction in his $20,000 bond.
The formal arraignment for Miller, Mitchell, Wires and Cornish has been scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 19 in Courtroom 4 of the Fayette County Courthouse.
Metts has a formal arraignment scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 15 in Courtroom 3.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.