AP NEWS

Stoystown man waives hearing in machete assault case; bond remains unchanged

May 15, 2019

A 20-year-old Stoystown man accused of slipping into the bedroom of a sleeping man and slicing him with a machete will face attempted homicide charges in the Somerset County Court of Common Pleas. Shannon Nicholas Spory waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday before District Judge Ken Johnson of Somerset. Near dawn on April 13, Spory entered William Stoppe’s residence along Kent Lane in Friedens through an unlocked door.

Spory told police that he went there to kill Stoppe because he was jealous of Stoppe’s friendship with a female whom he had dated, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Spory stood over Stoppe and held a machete above his head for about two minutes. He then decided to strike and stab Stoppe several times, state police said.

Stoppe fought back. The two men ended up in a hallway, where Spory sliced his left hand. Spory told police he gave up when he became tired. Stoppe called the police and an ambulance, police said.

Stoppe underwent surgery at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown for his wounds, police said.

Spory was arraigned by Johnson on charges of attempted homicide, burglary, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, possession of a weapon, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. All charges went to county court Tuesday.

Johnson set bail at $250,000 secured at Spory’s arraignment on April 13 and did not grant his attorney’s request for a bail modification during the time set aside for Spory’s preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Johnson told Spory that his attorney, David Leake of Somerset, made a “good case” for a bail modification.

“We are not asking for a nonmonetary bond, but for that monetary bond to be lowered,” Leake said.

He pointed to his client’s age and lack of prior criminal contact with law enforcement.

“I understand the court has to balance that with the severity of the charges, which is why we are not asking for a nonmonetary bond,” Leake said.

Spory’s family members filled a row of seats in the back of the courtroom. Johnson told Spory he was fortunate to have such support.

Leake said that both Spory’s mother and father were willing to have him come live with them at either of their homes if he is able to post the bond.

“He understands that he must absolutely have no contact with any witness or the victim,” Leake said.

The prosecution did not want the bond changed.

“This is an issue more appropriate to be heard in the court of common pleas,” District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser said. “Pointing to the facts of the case, certainly this young man engaged in conduct that could have killed another man and that injured himself. He is dangerous both to himself and to others.”

Johnson turned to Spory and reminded him that he was the district judge who arraigned him immediately after the altercation.

“Mr. Spory, you know the bond wasn’t set lightly,” he said. “The charge here is attempted criminal homicide. This came very close to being a criminal homicide case. I’m not going to modify the bond. It needs to be structured by the court of common pleas. There are some elements that could be imposed by the court of common pleas that I don’t have the authority to do.”