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Juries return verdicts; other trials begin

Published February 05. 2013 05:01PM

Juries returned verdicts Monday in four criminal trials held in Schuylkill Count court and three more trials got underway, including one involving a Tamaqua man.

Samuel Thomas Steffie, 41, Schuylkill Haven, was found guilty of receiving 16 stolen veterans' grave markers and selling the makers for scrap metal.

Brenda Griffiths-Zechman, director of the Schuylkill County Veterans Bureau, testified the bronze markers stolen, which were marked1941-1945, World War II era, were given to families to mark the graves of family veterans who passed away. She said they become the property of the family.

She added they are valued at $50 but because many have been removed from veterans graves that the county now gives markers made of aluminum which cost less.

A representative of Achey's Scrap Yard testified of buying markers from Steffie.

Steffie denied theft from graves claiming he found the markers in his father's home after his father was transferred to a nursing home after suffering a stroke. District Attorney Karen Byrnes Noon had the father transported to the courthouse and he testified he never saw the markers on his property.

Judge Charles M. Miller presided at the trial.

Adrian Ebling, 40, Schuylkill Haven, was found not guilty of charges of aggravated assault and simple assault.

The victim, Dinah Ebling, testified she suffered a bloody nose and bruises to other parts of her body following a confrontation with Eblng which occurred on Sept. 9, 2011. Ebling claimed self defense, testifying she came to his residence and assaulted him with a large stick and he only struck her once.

The case was tried before President Judge William E. Baldwin.

Dale Heintzelman, 35, Shenandoah, was found guilty of burglary of the residence at 15 S. Catherine St., Shenandoah, last May 5, theft, receiving stolen property, loitering, and criminal mischief by kicking in the door causing damages. He said he thought the home was vacant.

The case was tried before Judge John E. Domalakes.

Brian T. Updegrove, 48, Pottsville, was found not guilty of charges of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal use of cell phone, and possession of a controlled substance at a residence in Minersville.

The case was tried before Judge Jacqueline Russell.

All four judges ordered a pre-sentence investigative report prepared by the adult probation department and deferred sentencing until a later date.

New cases

David Rudy Cipko, 36, of 175 Penn St., Tamaqua, went on trial this morning before a jury on charges of burglary, aggravated assault, criminal trespass, terroristic threats, false imprisonment, recklessly endangering another person, and two counts of simple assault. Judge James P. Goodman will preside.

Nicholas Michael Kostishak, 50, Saint Clair, went on trial on charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and public drunkenness. Judge John E. Domalakes will preside.

Cory Michael Simpson, 23, Pottsville, chose to go on trial without a jury with testimony to be heard by Judge Charles Miller. He faces a charge of theft brought by the Cass Township Police.

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