2 Connellsville teens charged as adults in home invasion
Two of the three juveniles whom police say assaulted and robbed a 79-year-old Connellsville Township man were charged Wednesday as adults.
Terry Lee Nicholson III, 17, of 513 Vine St. and Duston Edward Wiggins, 16, of 108 W. Cedar St., both of Connellsville, are charged with aggravated assault; overnight accommodations-person present; two counts of robbery; criminal trespass; theft by unlawful taking; possessing instruments of crime; two counts of simple assault; and two counts of recklessly endangering another person.
They appeared before District Judge Ronald Haggerty Jr.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Nicholson, Wiggins and a 14-year-old male juvenile rang the doorbell to the rear door of Caesar Gaspari's residence along East Francis Avenue at 11 p.m. Friday.
When Gaspari opened the door, the 14-year-old juvenile pushed him out of the doorway and pointed a black pistol at him. He then struck Gaspari twice in the head and the face with the pistol when he resisted.
Nicholson and Wiggins proceeded into the living-room area, where Lisa Gaspari was standing and pointed black pistols at her. The two demanded money while the 14-year-old juvenile was hitting Caesar Gaspari, also demanding money.
Lisa Gaspari led Nicholson and Wiggins to a bedroom, where she gave them a safe containing $600, various documents and an unknown amount of change. She stayed in the hallway outside the bedroom and attempted to call 911 on her cell phone, but Nicholson returned and took it.
All three then fled from the residence.
Police were able to track the suspects' footprints through the snow to Wiggins' residence, where his parents allowed the police to search. Officers found the safe and $490.
Lisa Gaspari told police she was afraid she would be shot if she didn't comply or that Caesar Gaspari would be seriously injured or killed.
Caesar Gaspari sustained two severe lacerations to his head, injuries to his right and left arms, and severe bruising on his body.
Lisa Gaspari was traumatized by the incident and was admitted to Highlands Hospital for four days.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nicholson and Wiggins for 9 a.m. Feb. 27 before Haggerty, who set their bond at $30,000.
On Tuesday, Fayette County District Attorney Jack Heneks said that, pursuant to the Juvenile Act, the juvenile charges will remain against the 14-year-old male pending further discussions between the Juvenile Probation Office, the District Attorney's Office and the state police at Uniontown.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.