York prison administrator facing trial, allegedly pointed loaded gun at neighbors
York County Prison's facilities manager is now facing trial after charges against him were forwarded to common pleas court for trial.
John Jacob McCoy Jr. is accused of waving around and pointing a loaded gun at neighbors while he was drunk.
Defense attorney Chris Ferro said McCoy maintains his innocence.
"This situation did not occur in a vacuum," Ferro said. "We believe when proper context is established my client's actions were lawful and reasonable."
McCoy, 56, of Craley Road in Lower Windsor Township, remains free on $25,000 unsecured bail, charged with four counts each of simple assault and reckless endangerment — all misdemeanor offenses. Unsecured bail means McCoy did not have to put up any money but could forfeit that amount if he misses court proceedings.
He is on unpaid administrative leave pending the resolution of his criminal case, according to York County spokesperson Mark Walters.
District Judge John H. Fishel set McCoy's formal York County Court arraignment for Sept. 3 after determining enough evidence exists for McCoy to stand trial. Fishel presided over Thursday's preliminary hearing.
Officers were called to McCoy's property about 9:50 p.m. June 22.
Neighbor Diana Smith told officers that she and three other people were standing on a portion of a shared driveway that they have a legal right to use, charging documents state.
She told officers that McCoy and another neighbor, Ronald Miller, approached them, with McCoy waving a revolver, yelling at them and telling them to get off his property, documents state.
No drug deal: He accused them of conducting a drug deal, but Lower Windsor officers examined the bag that McCoy allegedly claimed had drugs in it and found it contained a DVD movie, according to charging documents.
Testifying for the prosecution at McCoy's preliminary hearing were Sasha Taylor and township Officer Ben Wind.
Taylor, who is Smith's daughter, said she had just gotten home from work and was in the driveway, as was her brother, Clayton Stoner, who was moving out of their mother's home with help from family friend Kelly Maynard.
She said McCoy approached them, yelling, cursing and "being belligerent," accusing them of being involved in a drug deal.
"He started arguing with my mother and Kelly and ... pointing the gun, swinging it around," Taylor said. "It was really big."
McCoy yelled at them, saying "we don't have the effing right to be on his property. He used the F-word quite a lot," Taylor testified.
Shared driveway: Taylor said the property on either side of the shared driveway belongs to McCoy but that the driveway's turnaround area is also shared property. Asked on cross-examination what led her to conclude that, Taylor responded:
"My grandparents had owned the property Mr. McCoy lives on and sold it to the people who owned it (before him)," she said, adding it was her grandparents who told them which areas would remain shared property.
Also on cross-examination, Taylor said that prior to that encounter, McCoy had always been decent to them.
"As far as I knew, he was a great person," she said. "He helped shovel my grandparents' driveway."
Wind testified it was obvious McCoy was feeling the effects of alcohol.
"He said he had consumed 12 beers," Wind said. "He appeared to be slurring his speech, always had to be holding on to something. It appeared his balance was off. ... I had a hard time understanding that a property line was the issue here."
Wind told the judge it was obvious Smith and her family had been using that driveway, probably for decades.
.44 Magnum seized: McCoy told police where to find his .44-caliber Magnum revolver, which was seized as evidence, according to Wind.
McCoy denied pointing the gun at anyone and said that Miller, his neighbor, had called him to say there was a dispute on the driveway involving McCoy's wife, Wind testified, although McCoy's wife was still at work.
Miller told an officer at the scene that he and McCoy had been together, drinking, according to Wind, who said Miller was too intoxicated for officers to get a written statement from him.
The defense called one witness — Maynard, the woman helping Smith's son move out.
She also said McCoy was waving a gun at them and ordering them off "his" property, but her testimony differed from Taylor's as far as where Taylor was located during the encounter — standing with her mother or parked farther down the driveway.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.