ALIQUIPPA (KDKA) –- The prosecution rested Wednesday afternoon in the trial of a Beaver County sheriff accused of threatening to shoot a news reporter.
George David is also accused of threatening to cut off the hands of a political campaign worker.
During a break before the defense began to present its witnesses, the judge threw out a charge of reckless endangerment against David. The defense argued the prosecution never proved the gun, alleged to have been waved at online reporter John Vranesevich was loaded.
The judge agreed that is a critical element in the charge of reckless endangerment.
The charges of terroristic threats, simple assault by menace and witness intimidation remain for the jury to consider.
Wednesday morning, Beaver County Prothonotary Nancy Werme took the stand to verify Vranesevich’s claim that she was one of the people David threatened during their conversation.
Werme stated that Vranesevich called her after his meeting with David and told her, “Nancy, I want you to go somewhere safe. The sheriff threatened your life. He was going to put a bullet in your head.”
She testified that the call unnerved her, and she later met Vranesevich at the police station.
“I was concerned,” she said. “His face was gray. I thought, ‘You can’t fake that.’ His lip was trembling. I know he didn’t fake that. I was scared to death.”
The first witness for the defense was Chief Deputy Sheriff Jay Alstadt who testified that once he contacted the sheriff about the allegations, David replied, “You’re kidding me, right? What’s this kid up to?”
The trial began Monday morning. Vranesevich testified that he was threatened by David as he prepared to investigate a story about bids for deputy uniforms. He said David threatened him with a billy club and a gun.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Tibolet testified earlier in the trial that David said “if he knew that he was going to die tomorrow, he would kill (Times reporter) J.D. Prose and he would kill (Prothonotary) Nancy Werme.”
Initially, David was facing 11 misdemeanor charges including obstruction of justice, intimating witnesses and terroristic threats.