Judge Denies Christy Efforts To Dismiss Case
WILKES-BARRE — The McAdoo man accused of threatening President Donald Trump tried twice on Tuesday to have state burglary charges against him dismissed — and was twice rejected by a magistrate.
Shawn Richard Christy, 27, is facing burglary and theft-related charges alleging he broke into his uncle’s Butler Twp. home in July while on the run from U.S. Marshals, who were seeking him on federal charges alleging he threatened the president on Facebook.
Christy, acting as his own attorney, began a preliminary hearing on the burglary charges Tuesday afternoon by asking Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker to throw the case out. Christy asserted he had a constitutional right to confront his accuser — in this case his uncle — but his uncle was not present for the hearing.
“We don’t need the victim for this preliminary hearing,” Whittaker said.
“Actually we do,” retorted Christy, who appeared by video from jail.
Butler Twp. police Officer Paige D. Kulsa told the judge the victim will be present for trial, prompting Whittaker to deny the motion to dismiss as he cited case law that allows hearsay evidence at preliminary hearings.
“Your motion is denied and we’re going to proceed,” Whittaker said.
According to prosecutors, Christy’s uncle arrived at his home on Klinger Road the afternoon of July 25 to find food on the kitchen counter and dishes in the sink. There were also two handwritten notes on the kitchen table — one to Christy’s parents and another to his uncle, Kulsa testified Tuesday.
“I am sorry I had to hit you up but I have some rather bad people after me,” read the note to Christy’s uncle, which was signed “SRC.” “I’d rather go out with some firepower.”
A search of the home revealed a Ruger P85 9mm pistol, an AMT .380 pistol and a Smith & Wesson .22-caliber revolver had been stolen, Kulsa said. U.S. Marshals found the AMT in Christy’s possession when he was arrested, and authorities recovered a note in which Christy detailed where he had left the revolver in Kentucky, she said.
During cross-examination, Christy asked Kulsa about whether the missing firearms had been in a firearms transfer database and whether investigators had found fingerprints or conducted handwriting analysis on the letters.
Kulsa said the uncle identified the handwriting as Christy’s, but acknowledged the guns were not in the database and that police did not recover Christy’s fingerprints from the burglary scene.
Kulsa argued for all charges to move forward for trial, saying that in addition to the notes and recovered pistol, a former police chief had seen Christy in the area around the time of the burglary.
“The commonwealth feels it has reached the burden of proof,” Kulsa said.
As the hearing concluded, Christy for a second time argued for dismissal, asserting that police had failed to even prove a crime had been committed.
“There is no forensic evidence in this case,” Christy said.
Whittaker disagreed that prosecutors failed to make their case and forwarded for trial counts of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, criminal trespassing and illegal weapons possession.
Christy is also under indictment in federal court, where he is facing a dozen charges related to threats on the president and other crimes he is accused of committing while on the run.
Christy was originally indicted on July on four counts but eluded capture for months in a high-profile search. He was eventually captured Sept. 21 in Ohio.
Christy, who pleaded not guilty to the federal charges last week, is being detained pending trial at the Lackawanna County Prison.