Judge to target shooters who killed Nancy Folcomer: Sometimes 'stupid' crosses line
Two men who mistakenly killed a North Hopewell Township woman as they were shooting at targets without a backdrop must spend six months in prison.
Jeremy Michael Robbins and Todd Frederick Kraft apologized to the family of Nancy Folcomer during their sentencing hearing Monday, Nov. 25, in York County Court, but as is normal, they were sitting at defense tables and facing the judge when they did so.
At the urging of presiding Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness, each stood up, faced the Folcomer family in court and repeated their apologies.
"This is an unthinkable tragedy," said defense attorney Chris Ferro, who represented Kraft, adding that from what he's learned, Folcomer was a wonderful person.
"My client is ... haunted by the events of that day," Ferro said. "He can't take that bullet back."
Robbins has been remorseful from the beginning, according to defense attorney Korey Leslie.
"He cooperated from the earliest moment he could," Leslie said, which was when a passer-by alerted him that someone had been shot.
"It's just a horrible set of circumstances," Leslie said to the judge. "I don't know what the right sentence is, your honor."
Robbins, 24, of Schell Lane in North Hopewell Township, and Kraft, 45, of East Market Street in York City, each pleaded guilty July 15 to two counts of reckless endangerment and one count of conspiracy to commit that offense. Neither has a criminal record.
Consequences needed: First assistant district attorney Tim Barker told the judge that both men should receive prison time — not because they are an ongoing danger to society, but because there needs to be consequences for Folcomer's death.
"Incarceration is not a token effort," Barker argued after Ferro asked for probation as opposed to prison.
Barker also noted that the victim's husband, Charles "Rich" Folcomer, also could have been shot and killed that day.
The judge described the decision to target shoot without a backdrop as stupid.
"You'd have thought with two of you, you'd be half as stupid," he said to the defendants, adding it turns out they were twice as stupid.
"Sometimes stupid crossed the line into reckless," Ness said, adding that the normally law-abiding defendants "managed to jump into the criminal justice system with both feet."
Ness said his heart goes out to the Folcomer family.
He sentenced Robbins to two years of intensive probation with the first six months in York County Prison. He also sentenced Robbins to a consecutive two years' probation on the conspiracy count.
He sentenced Kraft to six to 23 months in county prison, plus two years' probation.
Robbins and Kraft also must pay Folcomer's widower a total of about $4,541 in restitution for the victim's funeral expenses.
The men must report to prison on Jan. 6, the judge said. That prompted Barker to express concern the men might celebrate with alcohol on New Year's Eve.
"I'm not sure they have a whole lot to celebrate that night," Ness replied.
The background: Nancy Folcomer, 55, and Rich Folcomer Jr. decided to ride around the afternoon of June 24, 2017, after power went out in the area, to see if a power line had been downed, police have said.
State police Cpl. Krystal Dugan, who investigated the case, has said that when the electricity went out, Robbins asked his friend Kraft to come over to shoot at targets and drink beer.
The target, according to police, was an old hot tub that had been dropped off as fuel for a bonfire planned for later that evening.
Rich and Nancy Folcomer were driving in the 2500 block of Myers School Road, which runs parallel to Robbins' property, when Nancy Folcomer was struck by a bullet shortly after 3:30 p.m., according to Dugan.
Rich Folcomer drove to a nearby farm property so he could get cell reception to call emergency personnel. Not long after, one of Robbins' neighbors came to Robbins' home to tell them someone had been shot, according to prior testimony at the men's joint preliminary hearing.
Both Robbins and Kraft then went to the farm property and saw Nancy Folcomer dead in the vehicle, Robbins said in a video interview with Dugan.
Robbins offered to take troopers to the property where they were shooting, according to police.
Bullets hit road: The corporal said there were ricochet marks on the roadway where Folcomer was shot. Police said in court documents that each man fired between 24 and 35 rounds.
Dugan testified that the two were firing downhill, and from where they were shooting they could not see the roadway through the treeline at Robbins' property.
When Robbins took officials to the property, he told them he and Kraft were targeting the hot tub, which had been dropped off by neighbors earlier, according to a video recording of his interview with authorities.
The corporal testified that the two were given Breathalyzer tests, which showed that they hadn't consumed enough alcohol to impair their ability to shoot the firearms. She also said they were cooperative during the investigation.
Dugan said testing revealed that a bullet fired from Robbins' handgun killed Folcomer. She also testified that officials do not know who fired the fatal shot.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.