Coal Twp. man found guilty in threat to probation officers
SUNBURY - A Coal Township man, who armed himself with a shotgun last year when Northumberland County adult probation officers came to his door with an arrest warrant for another person, was convicted by a jury Thursday of aggravated assault and simple assault.
Michael D. Bramhall, 54, of 1119 W. Arch St., will be sentenced by Northumberland County President Judge Robert B. Sacavage on the charges within 90 days. The standard sentencing range for the charges is 3 to 12 months incarceration.
Jurors deliberated for only about 90 minutes before issuing a guilty verdict on both offenses at approximately 8 p.m. in the one-day trial.
Bramhall, who is free on bail, was placed on bail supervision that prohibits him from possessing any weapons and having contact with victims in the case.
County Assistant District Attorney Melissa Norton, who prosecuted the case, called seven witnesses during the trial including arresting officer Detective Jeff Brennan and Patrolman Matthew Hashuga of Coal Township Police Department, and adult probation officers Matt Narcavage, Dan Shoop, Chris Kemble, Derek Fisher and Michael Barvitskie.
Bramhall was represented by Attorney Greg Stuck of Northumberland, who called several witnesses, including the defendant, his brother and sister, and a neighbor.
During the trial, Bramhall demonstrated to the court how he held a shotgun when probation officers came to his residence to serve an arrest warrant for another person. Bramhall made a wooden replica of the shotgun that he used in his demonstration while referring to the real gun as "the intimidator."
The defendant was charged by Brennan with threatening probation officers while holding a shotgun Nov. 16 at his residence, an incident that created tense moments for police and bystanders.
According to a criminal complaint, Brennan said police were called to assist Northumberland County probation officers with a man armed with a gun inside his home. Upon arrival, officers spoke with Shoop, who said he, Narcavage and Kemble went to Bramhall's residence to speak with him about a female for whom they had an active warrant.
The probation officers went to the front door and identified themselves, but Bramhall said the door didn't open so they should meet him at the back door. After advising Bramhall that they were looking for the female and had a warrant, he asked to see the paperwork. He was told they didn't have the actual warrant in hand, but would get it.
The officers obtained a copy of the warrant and returned to Bramhall's back door. When he answered, police said Bramhall stood in the doorway holding a shotgun by its barrel with the butt of the gun on the floor. Officers told Bramhall they simply wanted to talk to him about the female and her whereabouts.
As they approached Bramhall, he allegedly told them, "come on in and see what happens," and began to thump the butt of the gun on the floor. The probation officers retreated and called police.
Police from Coal Township and several neighboring departments responded. Some officers were seen holding shotguns and another had a riot shield. Brennan said once a Coal Township police officer approached the door, Bramhall was very cooperative. He said the scene was under control within 30 minutes.