All four suspects in a drive-by shooting in Weatherly waived their rights to a preliminary hearing on Monday. However, the four had additional charges filed against them, and in an agreement with the district attorney's office, had their bail reduced.
Christopher Harris of McAdoo, Andrew Ortiz of Hazleton, Joshua Zink of Columbia, and James Delbo of Ashland, will face numerous charges in the county court.
The preliminary hearing was scheduled to be held in courtroom one of the Carbon County courthouse in Jim Thorpe. The hearing was moved to the courthouse for security reasons and because of the large number of potential witnesses to be heard by District Judge Joseph Homanko of Weatherly. All four suspects have been in prison since their arrests.
Following negotiations between the DA's office and defense attorneys, bail for each defendant was reduced. In exchange, the defense did not object to the new charges being added.
Bail for the four was reduced to $85,000 straight cash bail. Bail was $250,000 straight cash for Harris, Zink and Delbo and $300,000 for Ortiz. It is not known if any of the defendants can post the new bail.
The additional charges filed by Assistant District Attorney William E. McDonald were as follows:
Harris is now facing seven counts of felony third-degree criminal conspiracy; Ortiz, seven counts each of felony third-degree conspiracy and second-degree misdemeanor conspiracy; Zink, seven counts each of first-degree felony conspiracy and third-degree felony conspiracy; and Delbo, seven counts each of first-degree felony conspiracy, third-degree felony conspiracy and second-degree misdemeanor conspiracy.
If any of the defendants make bail, Homanko imposed the following conditions. The defendant must wear an ankle bracelet, have no contact with the victims or any witnesses, cannot be involved in any other criminal activity and have no contact with each other.
The four are charged in connection with an incident that occurred on Feb. 13 about 3 a.m. in the area of 319, 327 and 335 Yeakle St. All three homes were struck by gunfire along with a garage, vehicle and utility pole.
Borough police said a total of 19 bullets were fired from 9mm and .22-caliber guns.
Two people living in the homes were asleep when the shooting happened, along with their children.
Police alleged that Delbo drove Harris' vehicle, and Harris and Ortiz actually fired the shots. Zink admitted removing a license plate from the vehicle prior to the shots being fired and putting it back on the vehicle afterward.