Prosecutor's case against Newell
One witness after another on Thursday gave condemning testimony against Rockne "Rocky" Warren Newell, 59, of Saylorsburg. The man is charged with killing three people and injuring one at a Ross Township supervisors meeting on Aug. 5.
Newell had 12 charges filed against him, including three for criminal homicide, bound over to Monroe County Court. He will continue to be held without bail in Monroe County Correctional Facility.
The witnesses were:
Dunn, solicitor for Ross Township supervisors, according to testimony, was an intended target of Newell, although he wasn't hit by the volleys of gunfire unleashed that night.
An audio recording was played from the township meeting when police said Newell arrived and began firing, first a rifle, then a revolver.
Dunn testified about 15 people were in the meeting room at the time.
He said that when the shots began, "I sensed that there was some sort of fireworks or explosion or something. It didn't take but a few seconds to recognize it was gunshots."
Dunn said he flipped over a table, went behind it, and beckoned others to come behind it, too. He said he heard Newell say, "You expletives stole my property."
"I heard gunshots going off," Dunn said. "I heard people screaming in the room."
Shook is deputy director of Monroe County Control Center.
While on the stand, a recording was played of the 9-1-1 call to the control center.
One caller said, "I'm a township worker and I've been shot ... in the stomach."
He said a caller identified the shooter as Rocky Newell.
Shook said a caller told him, "I'm at the front door. I was going out and I got shot."
Gorham, executive director of the Pocono Heritage Land Conservation, had attended the meeting and was finished with her business. She was standing in the parking lot of the township building, speaking with Carol Hillestad, when Newell arrived.
"A gentleman came up and started talking to us," she said. "He turned around and walked away. He said they stole my property."
She identified the man as Newell.
"There didn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary," she said. "He seemed calm."
She and Hillestad went to their separate cars.
"When I started my car, I saw him walking to the building carrying a long gun."
She continued, "He walked toward the building, lifted his gun up, and started shooting into the window."
She testified that someone came running down a ramp and Newell shot him.
Kozen is director of West End Park and Open Space Commission, serving Ross and Chestnuthill townships. He testified that he attacked Newell when he entered the meeting room.
Kozen arrived first at the meeting and David Fleetwood, 62, the township's zoning officer, was second to arrive.
He said he initially thought the noise was firecrackers, but looked to his left and "saw the drywall was splintering into pieces."
Kozen said when the firing stopped, he walked up the hallway and saw Fleetwood lying in the doorway.
"He was conscious at that time," Kozen said.
He applied pressure to Fleetwood's injuries, but then saw Newell returning with a handgun in his right hand.
Kozen went into the meeting room and when Newell stepped inside, he grabbed Newell around the neck with his left arm and reached for his gun with his right hand.
Mark Kresh came to assist Kozen and they got Newell to the floor. In the process, Newell's gun went off twice and the defendant was shot in the thigh, Kozen said.
Dever was a responder with West End Ambulance.
He described the scene at the township building, "There were a bunch of people standing outside. A lot of people were crying. A lot of people were wounded."
He and a state trooper were in the back of the ambulance that transported Newell to a hospital.
Dever said Newell described the guns he used during the incident.
"He said he was trying to injure a lawyer," Dever said. "He actually said he wanted to kill him."
Dever added, "He said he had the hammer (on his gun) back and he was getting ready to kill the lawyer. That's when the people wrestled him."
Grim, the Lehigh County Coroner, described the results of the autopsies conducted on the shooting victims.
Allen, Monroe County coroner, testified about the fatal wounds sustained by James V. LaGuardia, 64, and Gerald J. Kozic, 53, both of Saylorsburg.
Corrigan, with the forensics services unit of the state police, presented photos of the scene and of the shooting victims.
He said Kozic was killed when he stepped between his wife and Newell.