Attempted homicide case moves forward

JASON ARONOWITZ

BY STACI WILSON

Attempted homicide charges lodged in a May 20 shooting outside a New Milford bar were bound over for trial Thursday following a preliminary hearing in district court.

In addition to the attempted homicide charge, Jason Aronowitz, 42, New Milford, aggravated assault charges and possession of an instrument of crime with intent were also held for trial in Susquehanna County.

Witnesses at the hearing testified that Aronowitz tried to enter the Parkview Bar but was turned away at the door by the bartender just prior to the shooting.

On the stand, Betty Whitney said she was standing on a patio outside the door and saw Aronowitz go to his pick-up truck. She said she then saw Aronowitz approach Michael Reid, who was leaving the bar at that time with three friends.

Whitney said she heard Aronowitz say: “I got a…gun. I’m gonna shoot someone.” She then said she saw him shove his hand into Reid’s stomach and heard two gunshots but did not see the weapon before it was fired.

Whitney said she saw the other three men then get into a fight with Aronowitz and then saw the gun kicked across the parking lot.

Upon questioning from District Attorney Jason Legg, Whitney said she did not observe any event or altercation between the men prior to the shooting that would require the use of deadly force by Aronowitz.

She also testified that she had not met Reid until she saw him in court on Thursday.

Reid also took the stand. As a result of the shooting, Reid said he had lost his pancreas, part of his liver, the top of his stomach and an artery in his back had been hit. He also said a bullet fragment was still in his spine. At the district attorney’s request, Reid showed the court his surgical scar that ran from his lower abdomen to his chest area as a result of the shooting.

Reid also told the court that he did not know Aronowitz prior to the shooting.

He shot me for no reason at all,” Reid said. “All I know is I got shot and I saw him shoot me and there’s no two-ways about it.”

Aronowitz’s attorney Paul Ackourey asked the court to dismiss the attempted criminal homicide attempt, saying none of the testimony showed his client attempted to take the life of another human being and that it was not known how the gun went off. The defense attorney also said that there were inconsistencies about the incident given by the witnesses on the stand. He also told the court no testimony was given that linked Aronowitz to the weapon.

Ackourey’s request were denied by District Judge Peter Janicelli who bound all counts over for trial.

Bail for Aronowitz was set at $1 million, or a 10 percent cash equivalent.