CLEARFIELD – The state trooper who served on the governor’s detail and who has been accused of assaulting and threatening his wife at gunpoint took the witness stand in his own defense Thursday in Clearfield County Court.
Terry D. Jordan, 47, of Clearfield is standing trial on charges of aggravated assault, F1; two counts of simple assault, M2; recklessly endangering another person, M2; and terroristic threats, M1. He’s currently incarcerated in lieu of $500,000 straight bail.
Jordan’s testimony began with a line of questioning from his defense attorney Bryan Walk about his educational, work and community service background. In November of 1997, he entered the Pennsylvania State Police Academy from which he graduated in May of 1998.
He was initially stationed in Troop J but later transferred to Troop C, Clearfield barracks. He served there as a patrol trooper and criminal investigator until joining the executive services detail, which protects the governor, lieutenant governor and their families, in September of 2015.
On April 21 his wife, the victim, was at work. He was at their Golden Rod home and made dinner for them. When she came in, their dinner was ready and he had a cocktail for her. He had one drink before that, and they each had three to four more with dinner.
According to Jordan, he wasn’t planning to go anywhere that night, but the victim had been in contact with a friend who was having a dinner party at his apartment in Clearfield Borough. She told him they would be down for drinks.
When they arrived, other guests were having dinner and drinks, and they began to catch up. He said both he and the victim were having drinks, and they were getting along fine. When the host escorted guests out later on, Jordan and his wife were alone inside and became intimate with each other.
Jordan said the victim didn’t appear to be upset or crying, and she never indicated she didn’t want to participate in any of the sexual activities when the party host came back. However, he said the host stopped it, asked them to dress and believed it was best for them to go.
Jordan said he wasn’t upset when they left, but when they were on their way home the victim started ranting about a previous affair he had with a woman. When they got home, he denied ripping her pants off in the driveway and said that never happened.
When they went inside through the garage, he said she continued ranting and he made a comment about maybe he should go see the other woman after which she turned around and punched him in the face. He said he pushed her in the shoulders, causing her to stumble into the wall. He walked by and proceeded to the bedroom.
Jordan denied that he punched and kicked the victim multiple times. He said after she fell down, she was able to get up because she came back to the bedroom and started swinging at him. Jordan told jurors he had to grab her arms, and in the course of the struggle, they hit a dresser or chair and fell to the floor.
Jordan claimed the victim bit his right wrist area, which caused him to knee her in her right side in order to get his arm free. When he did, he got up, left the room to get his wallet and phone and went outside. When he got to his car he realized that he didn’t have his car keys.
He went back inside to get them and heard the victim on the phone saying he had her at gunpoint. He said he couldn’t believe it and went back to his car to leave in order to diffuse the situation. He said he drove around before going to the residence of the woman with whom he’d previously had an affair.
According to him, she noticed his bloody lip and asked what had happened to him. He said he told her that he and his wife had been arguing, and she’d punched him. He also told her that the victim had called someone, accusing him of holding her at gunpoint.
He said the woman helped clean up his lip and they had sexual relations before he left. Afterward he went back to his residence where there were at least six marked police vehicles. He put his hands up and was taken into custody without incident.
When asked, Jordan said he never attempted to injure the victim. He went on to deny doing anything beyond pushing her once, grabbing her arms to keep her from swinging at him and then kneeing her to free his arm when she was biting it.
He said that it was all done while he was trying to restrain her as she was the aggressor. When asked, he denied ever throwing her against the wall, holding her at gunpoint and threatening to kill her.
Under cross-examination, District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. asked Jordan why it was important to detail his career with the Pennsylvania State Police. He asked Jordan if he was hoping for preferential treatment from the jury. “It goes to my character, I guess,” Jordan testified.
Jordan, when asked, told Shaw he was neither afraid of the victim nor fearful for his safety. He also said his handgun, which was collected by police, was never taken into the residence and was in his car during the incident. However, Jordan said he had other shotguns and handguns inside the residence.
When asked by Shaw, Jordan said that the victim, the party host and the woman with whom he had the affair were all lying in court.
Walk called two character witnesses who told jurors that Jordan was a good person, peaceful and non-violent. He had other character witnesses to call but believed their testimony would be very similar.
Before the commonwealth rested its case Thursday morning, members of the jury heard testimony from the dispatcher who took the victim’s 911 call; the warden at the county jail; and the arresting officer.
During the dispatcher’s testimony, Shaw played a recording of the 16-minute 911 call from the night of April 21. The victim reported Jordan had beaten her up, held her at gunpoint, threatened to shoot her and he was a state trooper.
She could be heard crying on the recording and said she’d locked herself inside of a closet. She repeatedly asked the dispatcher if police had arrived yet. “Please hurry,” she said, prompting the dispatcher to send help.
Jail Warden Greg Collins testified in regards to the booking paperwork completed by a corrections officer April 22 for Jordan. In response to standard questions, Jordan had indicated possible “job” and “divorce” as significant losses.
While he didn’t self-report any psychological problems, Jordan indicated a history of alcohol abuse. In response to another question, he admitted that he was ashamed and embarrassed. Jordan signed off on the form, Collins said.
Shaw also presented Collins with Jordan’s booking photo. He said Jordan stood approximately 6 feet tall and the victim’s height – 4 feet, 11 inches – would be around his chest area. Collins indicated that Jordan didn’t receive any medical treatment the night of his booking.
Sgt. James B. Glass of the Lawrence Township police testified last on behalf of the commonwealth. He responded to a report of a domestic assault involving a weapon in a housing development in Golden Rod, along with Officer Levi Olson, Clearfield Borough officers and state troopers.
Upon arrival officers checked the area and observed a blue Honda car was missing from the driveway. Glass approached the front door and announced Lawrence Township police, and they entered the residence.
The victim then appeared and was visibly upset; her eyes were red from crying. He observed injuries to her head and blood coming from her lip. She complained of pain in her back and right side area, Glass said.
According to him, the victim quickly tried to tell police what happened to her. He said it was related that she and Jordan had gone to a party, and he wasn’t happy about something that had transpired there.
He said when they returned home, Jordan had allegedly tried to remove her pants and she ran from him into the garage. Once inside, he said the victim described a commotion and a struggle in which Jordan allegedly kicked and punched her and he later put a gun to her head.
While police were at the scene, Glass said Olson was outside retrieving paperwork from his patrol vehicle when a car approached the residence. Glass said he had his duty weapon drawn and his flashlight shining on the vehicle, and it was being driven by Jordan.
Jordan put his hands up and he was taken into custody without incident. Due to the physical size of Jordan, two sets of handcuffs were used and he was cuffed behind his back. Jordan was intoxicated and commented, “I am [expletive],” Glass testified.
Glass said Jordan was taken to the county jail and the handgun found on the passenger’s seat of his car was collected as evidence by Olson. He said when he returned to the scene, the victim was going with a family member to the hospital for treatment of her injuries.
The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Friday with closing arguments from the prosecution and defense. President Judge Fredric Ammerman will then instruct jurors on the law and send them into their deliberations.