Fifth defendant waives hearing in case of dead deer left in Weedville church
Monday, February 20, 2012
ST. MARYS - A fifth defendant in the case of a dead deer left in a Weedville church has waived his preliminary hearing at District Judge Mark Jacob's office.
Martin Andrew Chicola, 22, 1101 Million Dollar Highway, St. Marys, is charged by Ridgway-based state police with carrying firearms without a license, two counts of theft by unlawful taking, two counts of receiving stolen property, one count of reckless endangerment, three counts of criminal mischief and one count each of institutional vandalism at a place of worship, disorderly conduct and unlawful killing of big game during an off season. Bail was set at $15,000.
According to the criminal complaint filed by Trooper Ronald E. Chewning, the Gardner Hill Community Church in Weedville was broken into and burglarized and a dead deer placed in the church.
The complaint says a tip led police to Chicola and four other defendants - John Paul Gier, 23, 137 Wehler Road, St. Marys; Bradley Alan Vanvoorhis, 19, 733 Spring Run Road, Weedville; Brandon Charles Ott, 20, 119 Cadillac Road, St. Marys, and Haley Elizabeth Heindl, 19, 3303 Manor Tree Lane, Houston Texas. They waived their preliminary hearings earlier.
They were interviewed by Trooper Monty Mitchell and Pennsylvania Game Commission Officer Dody McDowell. The five provided written statements regarding their actions between 12:01 a.m. and 6 a.m. Oct. 26, 2011.
According to the complaint, the defendants said they had been drinking and playing cards at a residence in St. Marys and decided to go driving around. Vanvoorhis and Gier were in Vanvoorhis' truck and Chicola was driving a truck with Ott and Heindl as passengers. They drove to Vanvoorhis' residence to drop off Vanvoorhis' truck and Vanvoorhis got a Ruger Black Hawk .22 caliber pistol. The group left in the truck driven by Chicola and drove to the Spring Run Road area of Jay Township.
Chicola and Vanvoorhis left the vehicle and shot a deer. Gier and Chicola loaded it into the truck and drove to the Gardner Hill area in Fox Township.
Heindl said she heard the Gardner Hill Community Church is haunted. Chicola pulled into the church parking lot. Gier proceeded to the front door of the church, forced it open and went inside. Chicola, Ott, Vanvoorhis and Heindl followed. Vanvoorhis turned on the lights and Gier saw a stereo and took it. When they went to leave the church, Chicola fired the gun inside.
After leaving the church parking lot, they drove north on Gardner Hill Road. Gier got out of the truck and damaged mail boxes at 33 and 216 Shrubb Lane. Chicola turned the truck around and drove back to the church. He backed up near the front door. Ott, Gier and Chicola removed the deer from the truck and dragged it inside, placing it near the lectern.
As they left the church, Gier removed a wooden table from the rear of the church and threw it into the bed of the truck.
They drove down the road again, stopped at a spring to wash the deer blood off them and went back to the church. Gier got out of the truck and broke the front window.
On Cleveland Street, in front of the residence at 495 Byrnedale Road, Chicola, Ott and Gier broke a fence. Chicola drove to the Vanvoorhis residence where they removed the wooden table from the truck. Chicola took the others to their homes.
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