Man accused in Ross shooting heading to trial
A Monroe County man who is charged with opening fire with two guns at a Ross Township supervisors meeting on Aug. 5, killing three people, will face trial on the charges.
Rockne M. Newell, who is a township resident, had a preliminary hearing on the charges Thursday in the Monroe County Courthouse.
District Judge Kristina Anzini conducted the hearing, which was very emotional at times, and bound all the charges filed against Newell to Monroe County Court.
Those charges are three counts of criminal homicide, six counts of attempted homicide, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of recklessly endangering.
He is being held without bail in Monroe County Prison. He attended the hearing wearing a dark blue prison suit. He sat quietly through the proceedings, showing no emotion, jotting notes, and occasionally whispering to his defense lawyers.
Newell allegedly went to the Ross Township Municipal Building while a supervisors meeting was being held on Aug. 5.
According to testimony, he got to the township building at about 7:10 p.m. and opened fire at a window with a rifle. He fired about 14 shots at the window, all of them entering the building. He returned to his car, got a handgun, and went to the township building, shooting two people at the entrance way.
Killed in the assualt were Gerard J. Kozic, 53, and James V. LaGuardia, 64, both of Saylorsburg, who died at the scene, and Ross Township zoning officer David Fleetwood, 62, who died after being flown to St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill. Kozic reportedly died when he jumped in front of his wife, who was shot in the leg.
It was testified that he yelled several times during the shooting incident, "They stole my land." Newell, a disabled junk dealer, had a long-running dispute with the township regarding his property.
During the hearing, an audio recording from the meeting was played. The recording picked up the sounds of all the shots being fired as well as the turmoil in the meeting room, especially the voice of a woman repeatedly yelling, "Oh, my God. Oh, my God."
In addition, photos which showed the gunshot wound to the victims were shown on a screen visible to the approximately 30 people present for the hearing.