Man ordered to stand trial in connection with 4 bulls shot at Loyalhanna Twp. farm
A teenage boy testified Monday he and a former Avonmore man shot bulls on a Loyalhanna Township farm in March because the man didn’t have any food in his apartment.
The teen said Shaun D. Ross, 60, told him he had no food.
“I had a crossbow; he had a second one at his apartment … Mr. Ross borrowed some money to buy some gas for my quad, and we went to the farm late that night and shot bulls in the pen,” the teen testified before Washington Township District Judge Jason Buczak.
Following testimony from the teen and Wade Weimer, owner of the farm, Buczak ordered Ross to stand trial on charges of agricultural vandalism, ecoterrorism, aggravated cruelty to animals, criminal mischief, corruption of minors, criminal trespass and furnishing liquor to minors filed by state police in connection with the shootings that occurred between 10 p.m. March 16 and 8 a.m. March 17.
The teen is being adjudicated in Westmoreland County Juvenile Court.
Under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Calisti, Weimer testified two of the injured bulls used for breeding and shows had to be euthanized. They were valued at $13,500, according to state police.
The teen admitted under questioning from Ross’ attorney, Public Defender Michael Garofalo, Ross did not shoot any of the bulls because he did not have suitable bolts for his crossbow.
The teen said Ross went with him on the all-terrain vehicle. He said Ross gave him a malt beverage before going to the farm.
The teen testified the bulls did not die immediately. He said Ross told him they would return to his apartment in Avonmore for a few hours “to let the bulls bleed out.” The pair had hoped to pull the dead bulls back to a relative’s farm after they died to be processed for meat, according to testimony.
“When we went back with the sled … they were still alive. We went back to the apartment, and I fell asleep,” the teen testified.
Weimer said after daybreak he went to the farm to investigate a neighbor’s claims the bulls were making noise all night. Weimer said at first he didn’t notice anything except a farm gate unlocked.
“Then Shaun Ross pulled up in his car and immediately said (the teen) didn’t do it. I told (Ross) I didn’t know who (the teen) was and I didn’t know what (the teen) didn’t do,” Weimer said.
“I never saw Ross in my life before, either,” he testified.
Weimer said he saw a crossbow sitting in the backseat of Ross’ 1996 Buick Marquis.
Ross left before Weimer saw the bulls. As he approached, Weimer testified he could see multiple bulls had been injured. He recovered a 6X-size flannel shirt and multiple bolts from the area.
“I had to put down two of the bulls because of their injuries. The one bull still has an arrowhead still stuck in its shoulder, but survived, and another other one was shot in its head, but it didn’t stick and he survived,” Weimer testified.
Garofalo pleaded not guilty on behalf of Ross.
Garofalo argued the agricultural vandalism, ecoterrorism and aggravated cruelty to animals should be dismissed “because the testimony is that Mr. Ross never fired a shot.”
“It sounds to me that the minor did everything and Mr. Ross was just along for the ride,” Garofalo said.
Buczak ordered Ross to stand trial on all charges. Ross remains free on $25,000 unsecured bond.
Court records indicate Ross has moved to Trafford since the incident.
Ross declined to comment as he left Buczak’s office Monday.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .