By Herald staff
HERMITAGE — A local rapper who said he was trying to build a career on a positive message pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of simple assault and resisting arrest stemming from an encounter with police.
Justin L. Dunlap, 22, of 441 Koehler Drive, Sharpsville, entered an Alford plea, meaning he did not have to answer questions about his actions. Such a plea typically is entered when a defendant doesn’t remember the incident.
Hermitage police said they entered the townhouse where Dunlap was living at the time, Jan. 26 on Esther Lane, after receiving complaints from neighbors about hearing yelling and the sounds of breaking items, and then hearing for themselves a man scream. Police said they found Dunlap in a bedroom and he yelled, “You cannot let in the light,” “No weapon can hurt me” and “You will not take my soul.”
Dunlap, who has a Sharpsville auto-detailing business, grabbed two pieces of glass and stabbed himself in the torso, police said. He went to a bed frame and pulled out a 12-gauge shotgun, police said. Police pulled the shotgun away but Dunlap fought with them, scratching one policeman on the forearm, biting another’s hand and headbutting a third in the eye, police said.
As part of the plea, prosecutors withdrew charges of aggravated assault and disarming a policeman.
Dunlap’s then-roomie, Michael R. McKelvey, 21, was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia for items found in his room. He did not show up for a preliminary hearing and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.