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Woman charged with shooting husband represents herself in court

EVANS CITY — An Adams Township woman charged with shooting her husband twice on Jan. 13 represented herself at a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Charges were held for Common Pleas Court for Heather A. King, 42, following testimony. She remains free on $25,000 bail with the condition that she has no contact with her husband.

An additional charge of felony aggravated assault was added to King’s case at the request of David Beichner, assistant district attorney.

Before the hearing, District Judge Amy Marcinkiewicz informed King of her right to an attorney and her right to waive the hearing. King insisted on representing herself.

Beichner called Adams Township police Officer Christopher Kopas to testify to what he observed the night of the event.

Kopas said he arrived on scene at 7:51 p.m. and saw Joe King, Heather’s husband, in a pool of blood on the ground in the driveway.

“I was able to ascertain two sections of where the victim was struck by a bullet: once in the middle of the right thigh and once in the upper left thigh,” he said.

Kopas said he and Heather King administered first aid to Joe King until additional officers and paramedics arrived.

Kopas reported that in an interview with the defendant, Heather King told him about the events that occurred prior to the shooting.

“She explained they went to the Aviary with their children; they went to dinner in Cranberry and got tacos and margaritas. They were arguing throughout the day and at dinner,” Kopas said.

Kopas said she told him that she and her husband went to the barn to argue away from the kids.

“She said it was hard to make sense of what was going on. … He was making statements like ‘You won’t do that,’” Kopas said. “She said he was standing 20 feet away when, in her words, ‘I guess I shot him.’”

Kopas reported that Heather King said she had found the gun in a filing cabinet in the barn a few days earlier, and that’s where she drew it from on Jan. 13.

During cross examination, Heather King asked Kopas if she was helpful when administering first aid following the incident, bringing a towel to help stop the bleeding wounds.

“So I called 911, rendered first aid, and was comforting my husband, trying to keep him awake?” she asked.

“Yes,” Kopas said.

Beichner then questioned Sgt. Edward Lenz of Jackson Township police, who said the weapon in question is supposed to house eight total rounds and was found with only six after the incident.

No shell casings were recovered from the scene, he added.

“We certainly looked. We could not find any,” he said.

Beichner said the commonwealth rested following the addition of a felony aggravated assault charge. Heather King asked the judge why her husband wasn’t called to the stand, but Beichner said that wasn’t necessary.

“Can I call the victim?” Heather King asked. “I want the victim here.”

Joe King entered on crutches, as he is still recovering from the wounds of the incident. He was questioned by his wife, and said the two were not arguing in the barn that night.

“The barn has been our safe place. We walked out holding hands,” he said.

He said the gun was discovered in the filing cabinet, and that his wife asked if it was loaded.

“I was showing you how to handle it. I realized in 17 years I’d never handled a loaded gun with you before,” Joe King said. “I believe it goes off pretty easily.”

His wife asked if she showed any aggression toward him, to which he said she did not.

Marcinkiewicz said the commonwealth had met its burden and both felony charges would be held over for court.

Beichner then brought attention to a bond violation that occurred on Jan. 20, producing a report where police responded to Heather and Joe King being together at the residence.

“This is a very serious crime; it’s a shooting with an injury,” he said. “The no-contact order was violated. It’s a very serious matter your honor.”

He added that he sought to revoke bond, but Marcinkiewicz first heard statements from the defendant.

Heather King pleaded not to be sent to jail, and her husband concurred.

“I have four kids. I’m not a danger. I don’t belong in jail; I’ve never been to jail,” she said.

“There was no crime here. We need to do what’s best for the kids. She’s not an abusive person,” Joe King said. “If anyone is to blame, it’s me for handing a gun to an inexperienced person.”

Marcinkiewicz decided to keep the bond in place with the conditions.

“I told you no contact with the husband,” she said to Heather King. “Contact with the kids via phone, but not the husband. You’re being told directly; if we all haven’t heard it already, no contact with the husband.”

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