BECCARIA TOWNSHIP – Three area men are facing charges in relation to an alleged assault that occurred last September in Beccaria Township.
William B. Cochran, 34, of Coalport, James C. Potts, 19, of Fallentimber and John L. Wissinger, 28, of Altoona are being charged in the case by Clearfield-based state police.
Cochran is charged with felony aggravated assault (two counts) and criminal mischief, misdemeanor terroristic threats and simple assault (three counts) and two summaries.
Potts is charged with felony aggravated assault (two counts) and criminal mischief, misdemeanor simple assault (three counts) and one summary.
Wissinger is charged with felony criminal conspiracy engaging in relation to the crimes of aggravated assault (two counts) and criminal mischief, misdemeanor simple assault (two counts) and two summaries.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, sometime between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Sept. 22, two men went to a Lyleville Road residence in Coalport to retrieve a vehicle.
When they got out of their vehicle, the defendants began to fight with them so they got back inside. They locked the doors and the defendants started beating the vehicle with baseball bats.
They allegedly smashed out the windows and caused other damage, then pulled one of the men from the vehicle and assaulted him.
Cochran also allegedly pulled out a gun, put it in the man’s mouth and threatened to kill him. The following day, he (victim 1) detailed the incident in an interview with state police.
He said they went to the residence to retrieve a car, and as soon as his friend (victim 2) got out, “right away people were coming from everywhere almost as if were planned.”
He said a male began hitting his friend, another male came out and a third male had a ball bat. He said he was able to identify one of the males as Cochran.
He said Cochran punched his friend, and also had a gun. After this, he said they got back into the vehicle and locked the doors. However, he said a female had the keys so they couldn’t leave.
He said Cochran and the others started smashing the vehicle with bats, and after they smashed his window, they pulled him out and started to hit and kick him.
Cochran also allegedly pulled out a silver “cowboy gun,” pressed it against his mouth and threatened to kill him. “I thought I was going to die.”
His friend, victim 2, corroborated the story, saying there were probably seven or eight people there. He was able to identify both Cochran and Potts.
During the interviews, Trooper Matthew Peacock said he observed a large bruise on victim 1’s left arm, as well as injuries to victim 2’s left eye, left index finger and right leg.
On Oct. 4, Progressive Insurance assessed the damage to the vehicle belonging to victim 1. Damage totaled $8,075.98, according to the affidavit.
On Jan. 7, Peacock received a report from the Pennsylvania State Police Erie Regional Crime Laboratory, which indicated a latent print from victim’s 1’s vehicle matched the right palm of Cochran.
On Jan. 21, Peacock interviewed Potts regarding the incident, and he confirmed that both Cochran and Wissinger were there that night.
In a separate case, Potts and Cochran are charged with misdemeanor criminal conspiracy engaging-criminal mischief-damage property.
According to the affidavit of probable cause in that case, sometime between 10:30 p.m. Sept. 4 and 1 a.m. Sept. 5, they damaged a vehicle parked along Buck Run Road in Jordan Township.
They allegedly shot the vehicle with a gun and hit it with a baseball bat, damaging the windshield, passenger side window, trunk, right taillight assembly and rear passenger side quarter panel.
On Oct. 2, a witness told state police that Potts shot at the vehicle with a machine/automatic gun. They also said Cochran must have had another gun and the bat he hit the vehicle with.
This story was corroborated by a second witness who also saw Potts and Cochran, as they shot at the vehicle while it was parked along the roadway.