Two men accused of aggravated cruelty to animals for killing two dogs waived their right to preliminary hearings before Magisterial District Judge Michael Morris yesterday at Centralized Court held at the Clearfield County Jail.
William Benjamin Cochran, 33, of Coalport and Joseph Isiah Brown, 23, of Fallentimber are each charged two counts of conspiracy-aggravated cruelty of animals-torture, felonies of the third degree; conspiracy-terroristic threats, misdemeanor of the first degree; conspiracy-simple assault, conspiracy, recklessly endangering another person and refrain from report, all of which are misdemeanor of the second degree.
According to police, on Sept. 5 state police responded to Oak Ridge Road in Jordan Township. Upon arrival they found two pitbull-type dogs. A male dog was deceased lying on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to its head, the female dog had a severe injury to its jaw.
The victim said at approximately midnight she was awakened by people arguing outside. She heard her boyfriend was arguing outside with Cochran, two unknown males and a female. Eventually, the visitors left. At approximately 1 a.m. she heard a loud pickup truck stop at her house. The victim said she went outside and saw two males wearing bandannas over their faces, get out of the pickup, one of whom she believed was Cochran. The other male pointed a shotgun at her and told her to get on the ground. The victim said she was scared so she let her dogs out for protection and the male shot both dogs. She said the female dog was shot first and ran off injured.
After the dogs were shot the males got back inside the pickup truck and left. The victim said she recognized a female inside the truck as Harley Davis.
The female dog had to be put down due to her injuries.
On Oct. 2, troopers interviewed Davis, who said she knows the victim. Davis said she was out with some friends and was standing outside when Cochran, James Potts and a male driver stopped in a pickup truck and asked her if she wanted a ride home. She said she did and got inside. She said she didn’t know the male driver but Cochran said his name was Joe.
When they were near Belsena they did a U-turn and the men started putting masks on. She said she started crying and asked to be let out but they refused. She said Potts and Cochran told her to stop and said, ‘We have some stuff we have to handle.’
She said they then pulled up to the victim’s house and the three men got out and Potts got something out of the bed of the truck, which she thought was a bat. She said the victim came outside and told the men to leave them alone. Davis said Potts told the victim to get on the ground. She said the victim then opened the door to let her dogs defend her. Davis then said she heard a gunshot and the dogs howling and then another gunshot.
She then heard the victim say, ‘Harley what the ...’
Davis said she believes their intentions were to scare the victim’s boyfriend. Davis identified Brown from a photo lineup as the driver that evening.
Cochran is incarcerated in the CCJ in lieu of $120,000 monetary bail; Brown is incarcerated in lieu of $5,000 monetary bail.