Hearings held for suspects in armed robbery
Four men charged in connection with an armed robbery at a Lansford residence on the night of Dec. 18, allegedly looking for "money and drugs," will have their cases heard in Carbon County Court.
Hearings were scheduled yesterday for the defendants, Joshua Barlip of Lansford, Ryan Dillman of Palmerton, Jarred Dillman of Palmerton, and Justin Scott Nahf of Dublin.
Barlip waived his case to court.
A collective hearing was held before District Judge Casimir Kosciolek of Lansford for Nahf and the Dillman brothers.
Testimony was given by Derek Hunsicker, 21, of East Snyder Avenue, who said he was struck in the face with a gun during the robbery attempt; and Officer Joshua Tom of the Lansford Police Department.
Tom said he was on duty the night of the incident with Officer Thomas Fort.
The four defendants have been held in Carbon County Prison with bail listed at $100,000 cash.
Kosciolek agreed to a request from the court-appointed attorneys of the Dillmans and Nahf to reduce their bail to $10,000, 10 percent.
The attorneys also asked that all the charges be dismissed against their clients since testimony indicated it was Barlip who brandished the weapon, but Kosciolek refused, stating that all four were participants. He agreed only to drop one count of simple assault.
All had been charged with two counts of robbery, two counts of simple assault, two counts of criminal conspiracy, and one count of burglary.
Kosciolek denied a request for nominal bail of the defendants, saying, "Part of my ruling is to insure the safety of the community. These are pretty serious charges in a small town like Lansford."
Hunsicker said he was at the East Snyder home with his brother, Rick, 24, and a cousin. He said a knock on the door occurred at about 9:24 p.m. and when he looked out the window, he saw Barlip holding a gun that was pointed at him. He said his brother and the cousin ran to the basement. Barlip and the other three defendants came into the house.
He said Nahf asked him where "money and drugs were." When he responded he didn't have any, Barlip struck him above the left eye with a gun. He said he thought it was a 9 mm gun, but further testimony indicated it may have been a BB gun.
All the defendants were represented by court-appointed attorneys.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Greek, the prosecutor in the case, asked Hunsicker, "When the door opened ... how did you feel at that time?"
"Scared," responded Hunsicker. "It was the first time I had a gun pointed at my face."
He said Barlip first asked him where the drugs and money were, as well as where his brother was. Barlip then told him to "shut up" and struck him with the gun, according to testimony. He said he required medical treatment at St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital and still gets headaches because of it.
Hunsicker said Nahf carried a baseball bat but didn't threaten him with it.
At one time, said Hunsicker, he used to hang out with Nahf.
Officer Tom said he was about two blocks from the Hunsicker residence when he received a call from the Carbon County Communications Center that there was an "attempted robbery in progress with weapons."
He said when he came around the corner on East Snyder Avenue, he saw people running. Officer Fort, who came in a different vehicle to the scene, arrived from the opposite direction.
Tom said he gave chase and three of the defendants, Nahf and the Dillmans, ran into a yard that had no exit.
"I drew my weapon and held them at gunpoint," he said. "I didn't know who had the gun."
Found at the scene were a baseball bat, bandannas, and two knives.
A running car was located about a block away, said Tom, adding that a check on its registration indicated it was owned by Nahf's mother. Found inside the car was packaging from a BB gun, a receipt from Wal-Mart for the purchase of bandannas, and a small amount of marijuana.