Judge Denies Swanson’s Motion for Reduced Sentence in Osceola Mills VFW Shooting Case

CLEARFIELD – An Osceola Mills man shot after a fight outside an Osceola Mills bar was in court Tuesday asking for his assault sentence to be reduced.

Jeffrey Lynn Swanson, 46, pleaded guilty in June to assault and harassment for his part in the fight. He was sentenced by President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to 30 days to one year in jail and one year consecutive probation.

His attorney, Curtis Irwin filed a motion for reconsideration of sentence that was discussed Tuesday in motions court.

Irwin told Ammerman that Swanson was requesting the year of probation run concurrent to the jail sentence instead of consecutive to it. He explained that Swanson is planning on leaving the area as soon as his probation ends.

Ammerman commented that this was like asking for less time and saying “I’ll be out of town by sundown.”  He then denied the motion.

The details in the criminal complaint state that it was Swanson, who struck first after being threatened by Robert Dwayne Hanson, 56, of Bellefonte.

Hanson was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison in March for aggravated assault and person not to possess firearms. He was originally charged with attempted murder.

The charges are the result of the fight, which occurred outside the VFW in Osceola Mills in April of 2015. Both men suffered gun shot wounds with the victim having injuries to his chest area including his right lung.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, while Hanson was sitting in the VFW bar, he told a woman he had gotten a gun from somebody and that he was going to shoot Jeff Swanson because he had ripped him off.

The female then left the VFW and went home where she called another bar to talk to the victim. The female told Swanson to stay away from Hanson because he had a gun and was going to shoot him.

At approximately 1:30 p.m., Swanson left the other bar and walked to the VFW, opened the door, and yelled for Hanson to come outside. Hanson walked to the same door, opened it and stepped outside. The two men began to argue.

Swanson slapped Hanson across the face and then punched him several times in the face and head, according to the report. Hanson fell onto the sidewalk. At this time, the gun that was in Hanson’s waist fell to the ground. Hanson and Swanson struggled over the gun. During the struggle, the gun went off and one shot was fired up into the air. A second shot went off grazing Hanson on the side of the head.

Swanson then began to walk away. He walked approximately 15 feet when Hanson yelled to Swanson, “Hey Jeff.” After Swanson stopped and turned around, Hanson then fired the revolver with the shot striking Swanson in the right side of his chest, the police said.

An employee of the VFW phoned 911 while the fight was taking place. EMS personnel quickly arrived at the scene and provided medical treatment. Both Hanson and Swanson were transported by ambulance and then by helicopter to UPMC Altoona where they received treatment for their injuries. Hanson was treated for minor injuries.

A witness told police that he gave Hanson a gun prior to the shooting after Hanson asked to borrow it. The witness said he had no idea Hanson was going to use the gun to shoot someone. He did comment that he thought Swanson owed Hanson $9,000 and Hanson told him that Swanson had ripped him off.

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