Police tape

A Saxton man currently incarcerated at the Bedford County Correctional Facility was held for court on charges that he allegedly attacked another inmate.

Devin C. Miller, 19, on May 10 was charged with aggravated harassment by prisoner, simple assault and harassment. Those charges were bound to the Court of Common Pleas during a preliminary hearing in central court on Wednesday.

State police said Miller allegedly hit and bit another inmate at the jail about 2:30 p.m. May 10. Lt. Lisa Conklin, a correctional facility officer, reported the assault to state police after speaking with the victim, according to her testimony Wednesday.

Conklin said the victim, who she identified as inmate Kmetz, but did not say his first name, was evaluated by a male correctional officer after the alleged attack and had photos taken of his injuries.

Chief Public Defender Karen Hickey objected to Conklin testifying about what the photos showed since she did not take them. District Judge Brian Baker sustained the objection.

Tpr. Micheal Zendek testified he filed the charges after reviewing the written statement Kmetz provided Conklin and the photos, but Hickey again objected to Zendek testifying about what the photos showed.

Hickey asked Baker for the case to be dismissed, arguing both Conklin and Zendek provided testimony based only on hearsay. While hearsay testimony is presentable at a preliminary hearing, Hickey said it cannot be the only evidence to support charges.

“The Commonwealth should have had the correctional officer who took the photos here to testify,” Hickey said. “But they don’t.”

Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Thomas argued that the testimony of Conklin and Zendek was enough for a preliminary hearing, saying the photos showing Kmetz’ injuries were not needed at that stage of the court process.

“This is like any simple assault case where we have a trooper testify what the victim told him,” Thomas said.

Thomas also argued that the charges against Miller did not require the victim to have suffered an injury, just that Miller attempted to cause injury.

Hickey told the judge Thomas was using “smoke and mirrors” to try to bypass her argument about the evidence presented.

Baker bound the charges to the Court of Common Pleas. Bail was set at $35,000.

Contact Will DeShong at wdeshong@bedfordgazette.com; 623-1151, ext. 150.

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