York County felon now facing trial in 2015 North Codorus shooting with AK-47-style rifle
The former friend of a felon accused of accidentally wounding a man while firing an AK-47-style rifle in the air in 2015 testified he stashed the gun after the North Codorus Township shooting.
Defendant Mark Allen Crone called friend Craig Stang and told him to get to Crone's then-North Codorus home right away because he needed help, according to Stang's testimony at Crone's preliminary hearing Thursday.
Stang testified that when he asked what was going on, Crone said, "I'll tell you later" and simply gave his friend a duffel bag.
"He wanted me in and out of there as fast as possible," Stang told presiding District Judge Thomas Reilly.
Stang maintains he didn't look inside the bag; he just put it in his closet.
Three to five days later Megan Stang found the gun in the closet and called her husband at work, he said.
"She went ballistic," Stang testified, and demanded he get rid of it.
Stang said he drove home, put the bagged rifle in his vehicle and drove to Crone's place, calling him on the way to tell him he was returning the rifle.
From trunk to trunk: When he got to Crone's former home there was a third person there with a vehicle, and Crone put the duffel bag into that person's vehicle, according to Stang, who said he didn't know the person.
"It went from my trunk to someone else's trunk," he testified.
Stang told the judge that's when Crone told him he accidentally "shot someone in the a—" while firing in the air.
"I don't know what he was thinking at the time," Stang said of Crone allegedly firing in the air. "It was one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of."
In 2016, Megan Stang told police about Crone's purported admission, hoping to collect reward money, but was told she didn't qualify because her information was thirdhand, her husband testified. He said his wife died in 2018.
Northern York County Regional Police took over the case in early 2020 after Southwestern Regional Police disbanded, lead Detective Mark Baker said.
Injured was Jeremy Dettinger, who had been target shooting at his parents' home when he was shot on Oct. 26, 2015. His parents' Martin Road property is adjacent to the property where Crone was renting an apartment at the time, according to testimony.
Heading to trial: At the close of the preliminary hearing, Reilly determined enough evidence exists for Crone to stand trial in York County Court and scheduled the man's formal county court arraignment for March 3.
Crone, 43, of the 300 block of East Prospect Road in York City, remains free on $75,000 unsecured bail, charged with the felonies of aggravated assault and being a felon in illegal possession of a firearm, plus misdemeanor reckless endangerment. Unsecured bail means he didn't have to post any cash to remain free, but could forfeit that amount if he misses court proceedings.
Defense attorney Farley Holt described the case against Crone as weak.
"My client maintains that he didn't do this," the attorney said after the hearing. "In fact, he has an alibi."
Holt declined to discuss details of that alibi, then questioned how Dettinger could have avoided serious injury from a .30-caliber fully jacketed bullet shot from about 250 yards away.
"I've shot deer at 250 yards with a .30-caliber rifle," Holt said. "It leaves a hell of a hole."
It's alleged Crone fired into the air, not directly at Dettinger, according to testimony and court documents.
Senior deputy prosecutor David Maisch declined comment after the hearing, except to say he's looking forward to the case moving forward.
Dettinger, now 30, also testified Thursday at Crone's preliminary hearing.
'Dirt started flying': He said he and another man had been target shooting, but had left their guns unloaded on a table as they walked to their targets to set them back up.
That's when he heard gunshots.
"Dirt started flying around us," he testified. "Bullets started hitting the ground around us. … I heard three shots."
Dettinger said he and the other man ran for cover behind Dettinger's Jeep.
"I laid down and reached back, and there was a big hole in my pants," he testified. "That's when I realized I'd been shot."
Dettinger said he started yelling to the mystery shooter, saying he'd been shot and that if it was an accident and the shooter came forward, things could be worked out.
He told The York Dispatch five years ago that he understood mistakes happen and simply wanted the shooter to take responsibility and pay Dettinger's medical bills.
He was taken to a local hospital by ambulance, where the spent projectile was removed.
It had entered his left buttocks and traveled about 5 inches, Dettinger testified, adding he's fully healed, other than a scar.
Crone's criminal history includes a felony drug conviction from 2008, which prohibits him from possessing, or even handling, firearms, according to Baker.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.