STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A man accused of killing three people at a township meeting was ordered Thursday to stand trial, where he could get a death sentence.
Rockne Newell, 59, was ordered to be tried on three counts of homicide and six counts of attempted homicide, among other charges, for the Aug. 5 attack.
The decision came Thursday at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing in which prosecutors played a disturbing audio recording that captured the chaos of a summertime rampage.
The Ross Township supervisors routinely record their meetings and the tape was rolling when the gunman blasted his way into the room, yelling obscenities as people screamed and overturned tables. Police have said that Newell retreated from the building but came back and began shooting again.
In the chaotic aftermath, a woman who had been shot in the leg could be heard on the tape begging her husband to breathe and “stay with me.” He died.
The judge decided there was enough evidence for Newell to be tried. Monroe County District Attorney David Christine said he intends to pursue the death penalty against him.
Police said Newell, a disabled junk dealer, was upset over losing his debris-strewn property in the wake of a court battle with the township over complaints that he lived in a storage shed, built an illegal culvert and used a bucket outside as a toilet.
Police said Newell packed a rental car with guns and ammunition before opening fire at the meeting, killing 62-year-old township zoning officer David Fleetwood and two Saylorsburg residents, Gerard Kozic, 53, and James LaGuardia, 64.
The 5-foot-10, 240-pound suspect was eventually tackled by two men and shot in the leg, officials said.
Newell has said he regrets that “innocent people got hurt” but claimed township officials persecuted him for more than two decades. He allegedly told police he had gone to the meeting in hopes of finding the township officials in one place.
At his arraignment on homicide charges the day after the shootings, a judge asked Newell if he owned any real estate.
“They stole it from me. That’s what started all this,” he replied.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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