Charges Bound Over in Simple Assault, Reckless Endangerment Case

CLEARFIELD – A Morrisdale woman accused of waiving a gun around while trying to run lumbermen off a Cooper Township property had all charges bound over to court by Magisterial District Judge Jerome Nevling during Centralized Court on Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.

Patricia J. Dunzik, 65, of Morrisdale has been charged with simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, defiant trespass, hunting without a license and harassment. Prior to the preliminary hearing date, she had her bail modified from $100,000 to $25,000 monetary, which she’s posted. Dunzik is being represented by David Mason, Esq. of Philipsburg.

Shannon Probst, a forester with the Walker Lumber Co., testified first at the preliminary hearing. At approximately 8:30 a.m. Nov. 25, he was watching over lumbermen on property owned by brothers, Ed and James Krasinski along Sylvan Grove Road in Cooper Township. Probst said that Walker Lumber had a contract to log the Krasinski property, and he was present in case Dunzik returned to cause problems.

According to his testimony, he observed Dunzik coming down over the hill and heading toward the lumbermen. Dunzik, he said, was dressed in orange and carried a hunting rifle. He said he was about 20 yards away from Dunzik when she was screaming for them to get off her property. He said she was waiving the gun in his direction and pointing it at his legs.

When asked by First Assistant District Attorney Beau Grove, Probst said he feared that Dunzik would shoot him. In addition, he said he wanted to remove himself and the lumbermen from the situation and motioned for them to leave that area. Afterward, he contacted state police to report the incident.

Under cross-examination by Mason, Probst said Dunzik was swinging the rifle from her hip area in his direction. He didn’t recall her lifting the rifle and preparing to shoot it. Probst also described it as a “heated” and “blurred situation.”

Ed Krasinski, the defendant’s brother, testified next for the commonwealth. He said he’d entered a contract with Walker Lumber to timber the property. The morning of Nov. 25, he and his brother, James Krasinski, went to the property while logging was taking place in case Dunzik showed up again.

That morning, he heard Dunzik yelling and saw her carrying a hunting rifle, as she approached the property. He said she was swinging the rifle toward the lumbermen and trying to run them off the property. When he asked her to leave, he said she refused, at which point she sat down on some logs with the rifle across her lap and claimed to be hunting bear.

When asked under cross-examination, Ed Krasinski told Mason that Dunzik was carrying the rifle in the crook of her arm. Then, he added, “That doesn’t mean she can’t shoot it.”  He also indicated that Dunzik had showed up another time prior to this to run the lumbermen off the property with the claim that it belonged to her.

When asked by Grove later, Ed Krasinski said prior to the incident, he’d advised Dunzik not to come onto the property. He said he’d been giving her notice not to since May 31 when he bought the property during an estate sale. He also said it was posted property.

However, during cross-examination, Ed Krasinski agreed with Mason that Dunzik had cattle and buildings on the property. Grove objected, saying the area Dunzik farmed wasn’t anywhere near the area of the logging. Nevling allowed Mason to continue with this line of questioning, which saw Ed Krasinski remind that Dunzik doesn’t own the property.

Trooper Matthew Gray of the state police at Clearfield testified last. At approximately 9:15 a.m. Nov. 25, he was dispatched to an incident between Dunzik and lumbermen, which involved a firearm. He responded to the scene with two other troopers and observed Dunzik sitting on logs with the rifle in her lap. Gray said that Dunzik claimed to be hunting bear but didn’t have a license to do so.

After his investigation, Gray indicated he informed Dunzik that she was under arrest. He said her hands tensed up when he was trying to handcuff her. After getting her in handcuffs, he proceeded to the patrol vehicle with the rifle. Gray said the rifle taken from Dunzik had three rounds of ammunition in the clip, which was inserted inside the rifle.

According to Gray, the other troopers had to literally drag Dunzik to the patrol vehicle. Once they arrived at the patrol vehicle, he said Dunzik continued to resist by not getting in. After troopers physically put her in the patrol vehicle, he said that Dunzik straightened her legs across the seat, so that they couldn’t close the door. He said troopers had to lift and position Dunzik inside the patrol vehicle.

He testified that Dunzik continued with this type of behavior while she was in the troopers’ custody. He said at the Clearfield barracks, troopers had to carry her inside to complete the criminal charges. Gray said they’d asked Dunzik many times to cooperate with them, but she continued to resist their directions.

During his closing, Mason argued that Dunzik had carried the rifle in the crook of her arm and never raised it to fire. He also argued that outside of Probst, no other lumbermen at the scene that date were listed as victims and interviewed by state police. If anything, Mason said it was just an incident of harassment, as Dunzik never put herself in position to pull the trigger.

Grove countered that this case wasn’t as simple as Mason had presented it. He said that Dunzik was aggressively walking toward the lumbermen with a rifle, and she’d caused problems before. Grove said Probst testified that Dunzik was yelling, waiving and pointing a gun in his direction, and this scared him.

Grove also argued that although Probst was 20 yards away, Dunzik could have still caused serious bodily injury to him. “She looked right at him, and she pointed the gun right at him. She could have easily pulled the trigger,” he said. Grove closed by saying that Dunzik might have a farm there, but she had no reason to be there that day running the lumbermen off the property.

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