Skinheads charged in attack at Avalon bar
Six people alleged to be part of a white supremacist group face charges of assault and ethnic intimidation in the violent beating of a black bar patron in Avalon earlier this month.
Several people in a group that attacked Paul Morris on July 7 at the Jackman Inn had tattoos marking them as skinheads or had symbols associated with skinheads, police wrote in a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.
“Several were wearing shirts with KSS (keystone state skinheads) with a doggie head inside a keystone shape,” police wrote in the complaint.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups across the country, labels the Keystone State Skinheads – known since 2009 as Keystone United – one such hate group.
According to the nonprofit, it is “one of the largest and most active single-state racist skinhead crews in the country.”
The attack happened when Morris came to the bar to drop off a thank-you card for his friend, head chef Javon Jenkins. Morris’s attorney, Fred Rabner, said the card was a thank-you to Jenkins for cooking the food for Morris’s son’s graduation party.
Morris told police he and Jenkins were on the bar’s back deck smoking when a group of men and women confronted them, the criminal complaint stated. He said members of the group referred to Jenkins as “black” but used a racial slur when referring to Morris.
Police wrote in the complaint that when Morris tried to walk back inside, someone hit him, and a fight ensued. He told officers he ended up on the ground while the group of seven to 10 men and women punched and kicked him.
The group scattered when the bartender announced she was calling police, according to the complaint. Officers wrote that while they were interviewing Morris, the group walked by. An officer shouted for them to stop, two did but the rest kept walking, the complaint stated.
Three more were detained a few blocks away, and another was apprehended as he tried to run from the area near the bar, police wrote.
Those charged are: Natasha Dawn Bowers, 33, of Roaring Spring; Terrence Raymon Stockey, 40, of Beaver; Jeremy L. Ingram, 35, of Hollidaysburg; Travis Lee Cornell, 43, of Marianna; Crystal Lynn Shields, 23, of Tarentum; and James Edward Kryl, 45, of Pittsburgh’s North Side.
The six are all charged with ethnic intimidation, simple assault and conspiracy to commit simple assault. All charges are misdemeanors.
Rabner said Jenkins was injured when he attempted to defend Morris.
Two witnesses told police they’d been at the bar when the fight broke out, and both said Morris was getting the brunt of the violence, including being punched and kicked as he lay on the ground, according to the complaint.
Both witnesses also told officers they were locals but had never seen the group of suspects, officers wrote.
Rabner said the day prior to police filing charges that he was alarmed by how long it was taking police to file charges.
“We’re not talking about a bar altercation,” he said. “We’re talking about a hate group attacking an innocent man and an employee of the establishment.”
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.