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York prison administrator resigns, pleads guilty in neighbor dispute

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

York County Prison's facilities manager pleaded guilty in his criminal case one day after resigning from his job, according to his attorney.

Lower Windsor Township Police said John Jacob McCoy Jr. waved around a loaded .44 Magnum and pointed it at neighbors in June while he was drunk.

McCoy, 57, of Craley Road in the township, pleaded guilty Friday in York County Court to a first-degree misdemeanor count of simple assault. In exchange, other misdemeanor counts of simple assault and reckless endangerment were dropped, court records state.

Presiding Common Pleas Judge Craig T. Trebilcock sentenced McCoy to 18 months of probation and ordered him to perform 50 hours of community service, undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation, pay court costs and have no contact with victims in the case, according to court records.

John Jacob McCoy Jr.

McCoy had been on unpaid administrative leave pending the resolution of his criminal case, a York County spokesperson has said.

He resigned on Thursday, according to defense attorney Chris Ferro.

"My client's plea to a single misdemeanor for a short term of probation appropriately resolves this unfortunate issue," Ferro said. "I believe this was a legitimate property dispute with trespassers. I also believe, and John has acknowledged, that he let his emotions get the best of him."

McCoy said in open court that he deeply regrets his actions, according to his attorney.

"This is a good man who made a mistake," Ferro said. "He accepts responsibility for that mistake and is happy this issue is now behind him."

The encounter: Officers were called to McCoy's property about 9:50 p.m. June 22 for the dispute, which happened on a driveway shared by McCoy and his neighbors.

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, court 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.

He accused them of conducting a drug deal, but officers examined the bag that McCoy allegedly claimed had drugs in it and found it contained a DVD movie, according to court documents.

No prior disputes: Smith's daughter, Sasha Taylor, confirmed her mother's allegations at McCoy's Aug. 6 preliminary hearing. 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."

Lower Windsor Township Police Officer Ben Wind testified Aug. 6 that 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."

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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