Enough evidence exists in attack on grandmother to send case to court
SUNBURY - Unlike at his arraignment, Erick R. Trometter was quiet and offered little comment Tuesday afternoon after a judge held him for Northumberland County Court on three charges for allegedly punching and kicking his 67-year-old grandmother.
Hours after the assault, Trometter, while brandishing a knife and resisting arrest, was shot once in the abdomen by Sunbury Police Chief Brad Hare, who then was acting chief.
Magisterial District Judge Benjamin Apfelbaum ruled at the conclusion of a 35-minute preliminary hearing that enough evidence exists for the case to proceed to the Court of Common Pleas.
Trometter is accused of assaulting Amanda Trometter July 8 at a home they shared at 618 Susquehanna Ave., Sunbury.
Trometter, 23, was hospitalized at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, until Aug. 19. He was incarcerated for one day before being released; he remains under electronic surveillance at the Elizabethville home of his mother, Tammy Trometter.
He appeared in court in red shorts and a T-shirt; a bandage on his left leg covered a wound sustained in the shooting. He had an electronic bracelet on his right ankle and used a walker to get around. Although he walked slowly, his gait and overall condition have improved since his arraignment.
Nothing to say
In addition to a felony of aggravated assault, Trometter is charged by Sunbury Patrolman Scott Hause with a misdemeanor of simple assault and summary of harassment.
He is scheduled for a pre-trial conference Nov. 7 at the county courthouse.
When asked for comment by the media upon leaving the courtroom with his mother, the defendant said, "I have nothing at all right now to say."
His reaction and demeanor were much different than when he openly expressed his innocence to the charges at his Aug. 19 arraignment before Apfelbaum. At his arraignment, Trometter also discussed with the media his serious wounds that resulted from the shooting.
Amanda Trometter and Hause were the only witnesses for the prosecution while county chief public defender Edward Greco called no witnesses. Greco has taken over the case from attorney James Best, who also serves as an independent conflicts counsel for the county. Best represented Trometter at his arraignment.
Amanda Trometter, as she did at a protection from abuse order hearing, testified the defendant "beat her up" by initially pounding on her legs as she laid in bed before kicking her in the face, head and breast with his bare feet, causing swelling and her nose to bleed.
The witness said the defendant did not attempt to prevent her from leaving the home. She said she went outside, sat in her truck and cried before driving to the county Area Agency on Aging (AAA) office to report the assault.
She said an AAA employee notified police, who quickly responded to the office and interviewed her.
The victim, who is diabetic, said the defendant told her she belonged in the ground, a comment she took to mean that he would kill her.
Trometter said she was definitely afraid of her grandson due to his remarks and actions.
Hause said the victim's nose and eyes were swollen when he first saw her at the AAA office. She said Amanda Trometter's nose was bleeding and that she was very upset and crying.
Greco attempted to have the aggravated assault charge dismissed. He argued that Amanda Trometter never sought medical treatment for her injuries, and that an aggravating circumstance didn't exist because the victim didn't suffer serious bodily injury. He also claimed his client did not attempt to cause serious bodily injury.
The defense attorney said the victim was able to drive herself to the AAA office to report the crime after the alleged assault and even enticed the defendant into hitting her by making a claim that she was "going to give him some of his own medicine."
Assistant district attorney Michael Seward argued that testimony presented by the victim and Hause supported the charges. He pointed out that the defendant pounded on the victim's legs and kicked her in the head, face and breast, causing swelling.
He said Erick Trometter's remark that his grandmother should be in the ground was viewed as a death threat by the victim.
Seward said the facts of the case called for the judge to hold the defendant for court on all three charges.
Greco, Seward and Hare, who was in the judge's office but not present at the hearing, reserved comment about the judge's ruling.
Sunbury Officer Vernon Petty provided security inside the courtroom.
County victim/witness coordinator Candace Armstrong also assisted at the hearing.
Trometter has not yet been charged by state police in connection with the shooting that occurred on Mile Post Road near Shikellamy Avenue just outside the city limits.
Hare was cleared by district attorney Ann Targonski of any wrongdoing in the shooting following an extensive investigation.