Nominal bail granted for man

LEWISTOWN — An 18-year-old man, charged with attempted homicide, was granted nominal bail Tuesday, according to court documents.

In September, Chase Amspacker, of Lewistown, was charged with five criminal counts including attempted homicide, aggravated assault, receiving stolen property, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person after he used a stolen pistol to shoot an unarmed man. Attorney Jeff Davis, representing Amspacker, argued a Rule 600 motion on April 18 before Judge Aaron Gingrich, seeking bail modification.

According to 234 Pennsylvania Code Rule 600, a criminal defendant is not to be held in pre-trial incarceration for more than 180 days from the date the complaint is filed. Documents state that Amspacker was denied bail during his preliminary arraignment on Sept. 15, 2018.

Mifflin County District Attorney Chris Torquato did not dispute the fact that Amspacker had been incarcerated more than 180 days, but argued that the allegations against Amspacker are serious, especially since the incident allegedly involved a shooting.

“Ask yourself what prevents this from happening again,” Torquato said.

Torquato also reminded Gingrich that Rule 600 bail is not automatic and that prior case law supports denying a Rule 600 motion to guarantee community safety. Torquato asked that Gingrich attach conditions to the bail, such as random drug testing or wearing an alcohol monitor, if the motion was granted.

Davis advised Gingrich that the accuser in the attempted homicide is currently incarcerated, so there would be no immediate threat to the accuser if Amspacker was released. Furthermore, Davis said that Amspacker had no problems with supervised bail and he would be living with his fiancee and newborn daughter. He also noted Amspacker intends to take the case to trial, therefore assuring he would appear in court when scheduled.

“Look at cases [like this] individually, not with a blanket and a rule book,” Davis said.

Court documents state that Amspacker had arrived at a Glenwood Avenue residence, where he stayed on occasion, early one September morning and discovered a man laying in bed with a female acquaintance. Amspacker reportedly retrieved a 9mm pistol from under another bed, woke the man, told him to leave the residence and threatened to call the police if he refused. Amspacker later told police that the man assaulted him, causing a bloodied and swollen lip. He then confessed to shooting the man in the side, court documents state.

Amspacker further advised police that he placed the gun in a small, brown cabinet in the residence’s bathroom. A Cobra 9mm pistol, containing one live round and a casing, was later retrieved from the cabinet Amspacker described. Police also reported recovering a black, nylon holster lying on the floor in a bedroom as well as a bullet and bullet hole in a flat-screen television. Mifflin County Communications ran the serial number of the handgun and determined the weapon had been reported stolen to MCRPD in February.

The Lewistown Police Department, Granville Township Police Department and FAME EMS assisted on scene.