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Lawyer: Drop murder charges in romantic rival’s shooting

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    Eric Mumaw, center, is led to court during a hearing in February. Mumaw is charged with shooting David G. Gombert of Beaver Meadows. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO

Published November 16. 2017 12:51PM

The lawyer for a McAdoo man charged with shooting to death a romantic rival last year wants first- and third-degree murder charges dropped.

Eric M. Mumaw’s lawyer, Andrew J. Katsock III, also wants his client’s statements to police suppressed.

In a lengthy hearing Wednesday, Katsock presented 10 motions, including asking Schuylkill County Judge Charles M. Miller for the court to pay for a criminal investigator to interview witnesses and a ballistics expert.

Miller arranged for a public defender to interview the witnesses, but told Katsock to wait for prosecutors to receive the ballistics report before considering the need for an expert witness.

Miller gave both sides until Dec. 8 to submit written arguments. He’ll review them before ruling on any of the motions.

Katsock questioned two state troopers who interviewed Mumaw, 30, on Nov. 1, 2016, the day of the shooting, and on Nov. 3, 2016. Deputy Assistant District Attorney Jennifer N. Foose called trooper Eric Schaeffer to testify.

He spoke of having interviewed Mumaw at a Pottsville hospital on Nov. 1, where Mumaw was examined and treated for a gunshot wound to a finger.

Katsock questioned Schaeffer about whether Mumaw was given his Miranda warnings, and whether he may have taken prescription drugs that interfered with his ability to think clearly.

Schaeffer said he did not give Mumaw Miranda warnings because he was not in custody at the hospital. Mumaw was given the warnings before being interviewed at the state police barracks at Frackville on Nov. 3, Schaeffer said.

The trooper said he recorded the interviews at the hospital, which took place over five hours, pausing as Mumaw was moved from room to room, evaluated and treated.

He said Mumaw told him he had not taken any of his prescribed medications — Xanax, blood pressure medications, an inhaler, Lexipro and a sleep aid — that morning.

Schaeffer said Mumaw changed his version of the events several times over the course of the interviews.

Katsock called trooper Norbert J. Brennan to testify.

He questioned him about Miranda warnings, and then pursued a line of questioning that appeared to suggest Mumaw acted in self-defense.

Mumaw is charged with shooting 27-year-old David G. Gombert of Beaver Meadows at Mumaw’s house on the morning of Nov. 1, 2016.

According to testimony at a Feb. 3 preliminary hearing, hostile Facebook posts fanned the flames of the romantic rivalry that led to Gombert’s death in the garage under Mumaw’s house.

In addition to the homicide charges, Mumaw also faces charges of voluntary manslaughter, prohibited offensive weapons, possessing an instrument of crime, simple and aggravated assault, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. He is being held without bail in Schuylkill County prison.

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