Assault charges head for trial
BY STACI WILSON
Assault charges leveled against two Susquehanna County men were upgraded Monday to include a count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
At a preliminary hearing held in Montrose District Court on Monday, the additional assault charge was leveled against Daniel Snee, 25, Montrose, and Dana Marsh, 23, Montrose.
Snee and Marsh are accused of beating two men in the parking lot of Emberz, a bar and restaurant in Bridgewater Twp. in the early morning hours of Sept. 11, 2010.
According to the police affidavit, one man was struck with a blunt object to the head. Both men were taken to Endless Mountains Health Systems in Montrose for treatment of their injuries.
All of the charges lodged against Snee and Marsh were bound over for trial by District Justice Jeffrey Hollister to the Court of Common Pleas.
In addition to the aggravated assault charges, Snee and Marsh were also charged with two counts each of simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
Snee is employed as a corrections officer at the Federal Penitentiary in Waymart. He also formerly served in the fall as an assistant coach of the Montrose Area High School football team, and is the younger brother of New York Giants right guard, Chris Snee.
Marsh’s attorney, John Petorak, argued that the addition of the aggravated assault charge against his client was a bullying tactic by the Commonwealth.
Elizabeth Dilloway Cleek is prosecuting the case for the state attorney general’s office because Susquehanna County District Attorney Jason Legg recused himself as his sister was a witness to the incident.
Cleek said she had been willing to not add the aggravated assault charge if Marsh waived his preliminary hearing.
Snee’s attorney, Paul Ackourey, also objected to the addition of the deadly weapon charge saying he had not heard of the prosecution intent to add the charge prior to the hearing.
Both Petorak and Ackourey asked for a continuance due to the additional assault charge.
Hollister, however, denied the attorneys’ request and moved forward with the hearing.
Snee’s fiancée, Sarah Conaty, who is a half sister to Legg, was the first to take the stand.
Conaty testified to arriving at Emberz at about 12:30 a.m. with Snee and Marsh. She said no incidents occurred while the three were in the bar.
She said the three left at about 2 a.m. and two men followed them out the door. Conaty said the two men were saying things but she could not hear what they were saying.
The men, according to Conaty, followed her, Snee and Marsh to the car and the four men began arguing and then the fight broke out.
In her testimony Conaty said Marsh was the first person she saw throw a punch.
Conaty also said she did not see anyone get hit with a bottle.
Conaty told the court that when she drove out of the parking lot with Snee and Marsh, the two men were both on the ground.
She also said there was blood on the hands of both Snee and Marsh.
Conaty said Snee suffered no injuries and Marsh sustained some cuts to his hand.
Attorneys on both sides reviewed statements and interviews Conaty gave to police in the days following the incident.
State Trooper Robert Bauman also took the stand. He had responded to the call on Sept. 11.
Bauman said he interviewed the victims at the EMHS hospital, and on the stand Monday he testified to some of the bruising and injuries he noticed at the time of the interview.
Trooper John Oliver also took the stand. Oliver conducted interviews with Conaty, Snee and Marsh – as well as others – in connection with the incident and filed the initial charges lodged against the two Montrose area men.
Neither of the defendants’ attorneys called any witnesses to the stand during the hearing.
In closing, both Ackourey and Petorak argued that they did not feel the Commonwealth had established grounds for the charges.
Ackourey said, “It was two guys confronted by two guys and it was a fist fight.”
Cleek argued the injuries the two victims sustained were consistent with aggravated assault. In her closing, she said Snee and Marsh left them lying there to die.
“Marsh beat one guy and then helped Snee. The only two people ever on the ground were the victims,” Cleek said.
Charges against two others who had been charged in connection with the case were withdrawn on Monday.
Jacob Henry, 28, South Montrose, and Marie Parkinson, 22, Jackson, had been charged with unsworn falsification to authorities in police interviews that followed the incident.
Henry and Parkinson were the first people on the scene following the incident and were the ones to call 911, according to the police affidavit.