CLEARFIELD — Dustin Thomas, 27, of Hawk Run, who is accused of murdering Brett Michael Bamat, 36, of Philipsburg at a residence in Morrisdale, had all charges bound over to court following a preliminary hearing before District Judge Jerome Nevling Wednesday at Centralized Court held at the Clearfield County Jail.
Thomas is charged with criminal homicide and aggravated assault, both of which are classified as felonies of the first degree. He was also charged with simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, both of which are misdemeanors of the second degree.
Valarie Bamat, 37, of Morrisdale, testified that she lives alone at 45 Bass Lane. Her husband, Timothy Bamat, had recently been sentenced to serve five years in state prison.
On Oct. 30 at approximately 5 p.m., the woman said she returned home and brought her brother-in-law Brett Bamat with her.
She said Brett Bamat came with her to help with some chores around the house at the request of her husband.
When they arrived, Thomas was there waiting for them. She said Thomas and her husband were best friends and were like brothers. However, when she arrived she told Thomas that her husband didn’t want him at the residence.
She said her husband didn’t want any of his male friends to be at the house while he was in jail.
She said Brett Bamat and Thomas did some chores outside and they had started a fire while she did some housework inside.
About 7:30 p.m. the two men were finished with chores and came inside. She said Thomas was drinking whisky and Brett Bamat was drinking vodka that he had placed in a bottle of ice tea.
She said both were drinking, but didn’t believe either one was intoxicated.
Thomas was also carrying a 9-mm handgun in a holster at his side. She said Thomas always carried a firearm.
She said she and Brett Bamat had plans to eat supper at her mother-in-law’s home.
At 8 p.m. her husband called from jail and she told him that Thomas was there. Upon hearing this her husband became angry and told her to tell him to leave. She then held up the phone so Thomas could hear and her husband said, “I don’t want you there. I’ll see you when I get out in five years.”
Upon hearing this, Thomas became upset and began to weep.
Thomas then turned to Brett Bamat and said “I’m more of a brother to Tim than you will ever be.”
Thomas then pulled out his handgun and brandished it before him.
She said Brett Bamat then asked why he had his gun out and Thomas replied because it was his “muscles.” Brett Bamat then stated if he wanted to fight he should put the gun away and step outside. But the two settled down and went into the living room and were looking at her husband’s archery bow.
Brett Bamat then turned and was looking out the window when Thomas took his pistol out and held it behind his back.
When Brett Bamat turned around he asked Thomas why he was holding the gun behind his back. Thomas then asked Brett Bamat if he was confronting him and he then pushed Brett Bamat. The two started shoving each other and one of them fell into the television set.
Valerie Bamat said she then told both of them to go outside because they were leaving for dinner. She got the bag of food they were to bring to dinner and asked Brett Bamat to put it in her car, which he did.
They were all outside, with Thomas on the porch and Brett Bamat by the car. She told Brett Bamat to get in the car and was trying to get Thomas into his vehicle. She said Thomas began crying again because he had to leave. Brett Bamat also did not get in the car and instead went up onto the porch with her and Thomas.
Thomas and Brett Bamat began shoving each other again and she was pushed against the door. Her dog was inside the house and was barking so she went inside to calm him down. Valerie Bamat said she wasn’t inside 30 seconds when she heard a gunshot just outside the door. She went outside and saw Thomas standing on the porch emotionless and his gun was in its holster.
Brett Bamat was lying on the ground in the fetal position. She said she started to walk towards Brett Bamat and asked Thomas if he was going to help her. But instead he went to his vehicle.
While he was by his vehicle she heard a gunshot and turned and saw Thomas getting his vehicle. She went over and asked him to give her the gun and he replied “All I want to do is kill myself,” and drove off.
She then called her mother-in-law (Brett Bamat’s mother) and told her Brett Bamat had been shot and called 911.
Valerie Bamat said Brett Bamat’s body was lifeless and he had been shot in the heart. The 911 dispatcher had her do chest compressions on Brett Bamat until the ambulance arrived. She said her mother-in-law arrived on scene before the ambulance. She said it seemed to take “forever” for the ambulance to arrive and said it was probably 30 minutes.
Thomas was arrested at his home by Clearfield-based state police Trooper Matthew Gray.
Throughout the hearing, Thomas sat hunched over in his seat at the defense table with his head down and he didn’t appear to look up until the hearing was completed.
Thomas is being held in the Clearfield County Jail without bail.
Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. represented the commonwealth at the hearing, and attorney Stephanie Cooper of Bellefonte represented Thomas.