Webster headshot


State police on Friday withdrew a charge of possessing a prohibited offensive weapon filed in August against an Independence Township man in the aftermath of a homicide.

A preliminary hearing scheduled to take place before District Judge Ethan Ward on Monday morning was listed as “canceled” in an online docket entry for Arnold Lee Webster, 64, of the Avella area.

Washington County Deputy District Attorney Jason Walsh said Monday, “The trooper went down and withdrew the charges.

“It’s an ongoing investigation. We want to make sure if any charges are brought, they are brought together.”

Asked if this was an indication that an additional charge or charges were pending, Walsh replied, “I wouldn’t interpret it either way.”

The Washington County coroner’s office identified Joshua Ryan Bowland, 31, as dying late in the night of Aug. 28 after Webster shot him. The two men shared the same address, and Bowland was killed by “his mother’s significant other,” according to the coroner.

Police obtained a search warrant and found a sawed-off shotgun, of which Webster claimed ownership, under a mattress in Webster’s bedroom.

Bowland, according to online court records, had several run-ins with the law.

On April 23, he entered a guilty plea to endangering the welfare of children and drunken driving and damaging property or an unattended vehicle in an accident, serving a 3- to- 17-month sentence in the county jail.

Bowland last year pleaded guilty to simple assault, and was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

In a 2009 court case that resulted in charges of stalking and harassment, he was ordered to be evaluated for drug and/or alcohol abuse and to attend anger management classes as a condition of his admission to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program.

A search of the online docket revealed no prior criminal charges against Webster.

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