A Washington County judge Thursday ordered that six men described as members of the Pagan Motorcycle Club will remain jailed for the time being as they face charges stemming from the beating of another man at a Charleroi social club.
In giving his ruling from the bench, Common Pleas Judge John DiSalle acknowledged defense attorneys’ arguments for the allowance of bail or other conditions to allow for their clients’ release, but cited the nature of the crimes and the injuries they allegedly caused to 53-year-old Troy A. Harris.
“Each of these individuals was at the scene of that assault and participated in some fashion, though (some of their participation) may be greater than others,” DiSalle said.
The six men who face charges including attempted homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide are: Corey Volk, 24, of West Newton; Paul Cochran, 54, of Charleroi; John Sadvary Jr., 39, of Penn Hills; Matthew Vasquez, 30, of Monessen; Josh Pagliei, 43, of Pleasant Hills; and Jason Huff, 40, of Plum.
They are among 10 people who have been charged in the brutal April 18 assault of Harris, of Fallowfield Township, in the barroom of the Slovak Club at 700 McKean Ave., Charleroi.
Brian A. Keruskin, 57, of Charleroi, turned himself in Tuesday and was sent to Washington County jail without bond. He faces an Aug. 7 preliminary hearing, along with another suspect, Joseph Olinsky, 45, whose address was not immediately known.
Zackary Yagnich, 26, of Charleroi, is facing similar charges over accusations he led the Pagans to the club and used his key to let them inside, knowing Harris was at the bar. He is cooperating in the case and is free.
The attorneys who were seeking their clients’ release from jail on Thursday presented evidence of their employment, family relationships and other ties in the community.
They also said there was no evidence that their clients had threatened anyone involved in the case in the months between the night of the assault and when charges were filed in June and July.
“Even with all of the charges having been held for court, your honor, all of these are bailable offenses,” said Lee Rothman, Sadvary’s defense attorney.
Deputy District Attorney Jason Walsh said witnesses in the case had to worry about retaliation.
“Now they know who is cooperating with the commonwealth,” he said.
Earlier, he’d called a sheriff’s deputy who testified that he did hear Pagliei turn to Cochran and refer to Yagnich as a “(expletive) rat” during Tuesday’s hearing when the witness entered the courtroom.
Under cross-examination by the defense, the deputy conceded that Pagliei hadn’t made that comment to the witness and none of them had caused any disturbances for the more than three hours they were in court.
Vasquez’ fiancée at the time, Jamie Granato, also faces a preliminary hearing in a conspiracy case involving charges she helped to find Harris that night. She is cooperating with the prosecution and identified all of the Pagans who entered the bar in single file shortly before the assault.
Meanwhile, it came to light Thursday that Harris had a loaded, stolen handgun and ammunition in his pants pockets when he arrived unconscious at Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, after he was assaulted, court records show.
The hospital staff alerted a Pittsburgh police officer about the gun after Harris was stripped of his clothing to assess his injuries, police stated in the affidavit.
The semi-automatic handgun recovered from Harris had been reported stolen to West Mifflin police Feb. 10 by Clifford Carilli, court records show. He also had a magazine and ammunition for a different handgun in another pocket.
The prosecution has said that there was no evidence of Harris attempting to use a gun when he was assaulted.
During the preliminary hearing Tuesday, surveillance video from the bar was played that showed Harris with a beer in one hand and beginning to put on his eyeglasses with the other when one of the suspects “sucker punched” him, sending him to the floor.
District Judge Kim Berkeley Clark signed a warrant April 19 for Harris’ arrest on charges of receiving stolen property and carrying a firearm without a license.
Harris spent a considerable time in various hospitals recovering from his injuries that have left him needing a cane and physical and speech therapy. He has been released from the hospital to an undisclosed location, the prosecution said.
In another sudden development, Sadvary’s son was arrested on an outstanding warrant in the courthouse on Thursday during his father’s bail proceeding. John Sadvary III was facing an outstanding warrant out of Indiana County for failure to appear in court in a drug possession case.
Court records show his release on his own recognizance bond was reinstated later in the day.
Walsh called county Detective Michael Carso to the stand to testify that he’d verified the warrant for the younger Sadvary.
“How often in bail hearings are you asked to run the family members and witnesses in the courtroom?” asked defense attorney Wendy Williams, who represents Huff.
Carso denied having been told to do so and said he’d merely followed up on information from the state police Criminal Information Center.
Prosecutors have released some of the documents relating to the charges stemming from the beating of Harris, but the dockets and filings in the cases remain under seal.