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Valley News Dispatch

Hampton man acquitted in 2 Etna homicides accused of West Deer assault allegations

Renatta Signorini
| Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, 11:57 a.m.
Joshua Huberof Etna after being taken into police custody in 2016.
WPXI
Joshua Huberof Etna after being taken into police custody in 2016.

A Hampton man acquitted in the 2016 fatal shooting of two people at an Etna apartment is back behind bars after West Deer police alleged he attacked a woman last week.

District Judge Tom Swan raised bail Wednesday for Joshua Huber, 33, from $10,000 on drug, terroristic threats, simple assault and related charges to $1 million.

Swan ruled Huber to be a danger to the victim and community as well as his previous involvement in the criminal justice system.

That move was a welcome one to friends Elise Schindler and Judy DeSantis whose son and daughter, respectively, were fatally shot April 15, 2016 inside Huber’s apartment.

“I don’t want that to happen to anybody else,” DeSantis said.

“I’m really grateful for that,” Schindler said. “I’m glad that he’s locked up where he should be, because he’s dangerous.”

Huber was acquitted by an Allegheny County jury in May 2017 of homicide charges for the deaths of Melissa Zuk, 22, of McCandless, and Derek Schindler, 30, of Glenshaw.

In the recent incident, West Deer police alleged in a complaint filed Oct. 25 that Huber was drinking around 3 p.m. that day and became “angry for an unknown reason.” A woman who was inside the Little Deer Creek Valley Road apartment locked Huber outside when he went for a cigarette because she was “scared he was going to hurt her,” according to the complaint.

He started kicking the door, and she eventually unlocked it.

Huber allegedly threw her into the door, and she screamed for help, police said. A neighbor waved down officers in the area.

Police found in the apartment a bag that allegedly belonged to Huber containing marijuana, a scale and other items, according to the complaint. Police allege Huber threatened officers at a township holding cell and kicked the cell door, damaging it.

His public defender could not be reached.

Schindler, DeSantis and Zuk’s sister-in-law, Shannon Zuk, contacted the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and the original investigators when they learned of the new allegations. Swan said an assistant district attorney requested a change to Huber’s bail Wednesday at a preliminary hearing that was later rescheduled.

Members of DeSantis’ family attended the hearing.

“It’s just knowing that he is behind bars and that he can’t hurt another person,” Shannon Zuk said.

Prosecutors alleged that Huber shot Melissa Zuk and Derek Schindler after an argument over $40. His attorneys claimed self defense.

Huber has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Nov. 14 on the new allegations.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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