By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
Southwest Mercer County Regional police presented no evidence at a preliminary hearing Thursday that Daniel L. Odem Jr. shot Leonard Figgins.
“They need to arrest the right person,” Odem’s attorney, Stanley T. Booker argued in asking a judge to dismiss charges against Odem.
However, Odem was driving the car from which the shots were fired, Figgins said, giving prosecutors support to their argument that, at least, Odem was involved in the shooting.
District Judge Ronald E. Antos, Farrell, held for court charges of carrying a firearm without a license, reckless endangerment and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and discharging a firearm into an occupied structure.
He dismissed charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and discharging a firearm into an occupied structure.
The fact that Figgins identified Odem as the driver of the car and that Odem ran from police indicates he might have been involved, Antos said.
Booker also tried to get Antos to dismiss the complaint before any testimony was heard on the basis that it did not identify the shooting victim. Assistant District Attorney Daniel Davis responded that the victim’s name was left out because the shooter “was, and may be still, at large.”
Antos did not dismiss the complaint, telling Booker he could take up that argument in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
Figgins said he was walking in the 900 block of Fruit Avenue, Farrell, when he heard a disturbance on Hamilton.
“I looked to my right hand side and shots came from the car,” Figgins said.
Figgins testified that he is a close friend of Odem and that their relationship is like family. Odem, 21, of 1126 Washington St., Farrell, was driving the car and the passenger fired the shots, Figgins said.
While the alleged passenger has not been named publicly, Figgins said he had had an ongoing problem with this person, they were involved in an altercation a couple days before the Oct. 10 shooting, and that threats had been made.
Figgins, 23, who wore a sling holding his right arm, said he never saw Odem with a gun, and Antos would not allow Figgins to answer Booker’s question as to whether he thought Odem had anything to do with the shooting.
Police from Southwest Mercer County Regional and Sharon heard the shots at 2:17 a.m. Oct. 10. Southwest Sgt. Charles Rubano said he was on the scene of a domestic call in the 900 block of Hamilton Avenue, Farrell, and immediately went to the area where the five or six shots appeared to come from, Union Street and Fruit. He drove through a cloud as he approached the intersection, he said.
“My windows were down and it hit me, the smell of gunpowder,” he said.
Rubano had spotted taillights and followed them onto Fruit, then Idaho Street, where he lost sight of them. Picking them up again on Hamilton, he followed the car back onto Union, pulling behind it just before the mid-block alley.
Two men ran out of the car. Rubano said he had seen the driver drop something by the car and found a cellular telephone cover and an MP3 player, he said.
The driver’s door was open and Rubano said he looked in and could see two guns on the passenger floor.
Sharon police arrived at the scene and additional Southwest units also came, he said. Police set up a perimeter in the neighborhood to look for the men.
Southwest patrolman Andreu Foriska said he saw a man later identified as Odem running by the baseball field between Wallis and Fruit. Odem tripped trying to jump over a fence and landed in the middle of Fruit, where he was arrested.
Sharon patrolman Marc Adamo said he saw Foriska and Southwest Sgt. Jon Rococi with the suspect and drove over to assist them. When they got Odem handcuffed and off the ground, there was a cell phone on the street with a missing back cover and Odem claimed ownership of it, Adamo said.
Police said the cover found by the car matched the phone found under Odem, and keys found in Odem’s pocket worked in the car.
Police later learned about Figgins and found his eyeglasses and a pool of blood in the 700 block of Union, and a bullet fragment inside 701 Union, where a large window was found with a bullet hole.
The revolver found in the car had five spent shell casings and a live round in it, and a pistol had 11 live bullets in the magazine and one in the chamber, police said.
Ballistics reports on the firearms and the result of a gunshot residue test performed on Odem have not come back from the lab, police said.