Retired trooper’s violent attack on wife preceded murder-suicide, court documents show

mdawson@centredaily.comMarch 29, 2013 

Two months before Mark Miscavish shot and killed his wife and then turned the gun on himself Thursday inside a Philipsburg-area grocery store, the retired state trooper threatened to do exactly that, according to court documents.

Miscavish allegedly threatened to kill his wife, Traci Miscavish, and assaulted her Jan. 23 inside their Rush Township home days after she told him she wanted to end their 30-year marriage, police said in charging documents against the husband. That morning, the wife, who had been staying with her mother in Chester Hill, arranged to pick up some of her belongings.

The result was a fight that left Mark Miscavish facing misdemeanor charges of terroristic threats and simple assault. He was thrown in jail for a week and then released after a district judge lowered his bail. The district attorney said Thursday that the prosecution opposed his release.

Mark Miscavish was due in court in May for a pretrial conference on the charges.

Traci Miscavish immediately sought a protection from abuse order, and a county judge granted it. That document was sealed Thursday after the CDT obtained a copy.

Here is how the January assault unfolded, according to what police wrote in the charging documents against the husband:

After Traci Miscavish arrived at her house on Black Moshannon Road, she saw her husband take two Prednisone tablets within 15 minutes. She thought he’d been abusing his prescriptions and was drinking more, she later told police.

So she reached for the pill bottle, and that’s when things escalated.

Mark Miscavish snapped.

He wrestled her to the ground and put her arms behind her back. He tried taping her hands, but she managed to sit up.

He went for a handgun from a dresser drawer. But he did not point it at her, even though he previously threatened to kill her and himself, she told police.

Traci Miscavish wanted a drink of water and needed to use the bathroom.

That’s when she made a run for it.

Traci Miscavish bolted for the front door and made it into the snow-covered front yard. But her husband went after her and knocked her to the ground.

He grabbed her shirt and tried to drag her back into the house.

Someone in a pickup truck stopped, and she was able to call police.

Traci Miscavish’s sister drove her to the state police barracks on U.S. Route 322, the same place her husband worked before retiring in April 2011.

Mark Miscavish was arrested, arraigned at 9:30 that night and thrown in jail on $10,000 straight bail.

A week later, at Mark Miscavish’s preliminary hearing, District Judge Tom Jordan reduced his bail to $10,000 unsecured. Mark Miscavish was released on intensive supervision, according to Jordan’s order.

District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said her office argued against lower bail because of how violent Mark Miscavish was to his wife.

Jordan also forbade Mark Miscavish from contacting his wife or going to the County Market, where his wife worked, and her mother’s house in Chester Hill.

Traci Miscavish got the PFA the day after the alleged assault. County Judge Bradley P. Lunsford ordered Mark Miscavish not to contact her — even post any remarks about her on Facebook — and was barred from harassing or stalking his wife’s family.

In her application for a PFA, Traci Miscavish said her husband told her during the encounter Jan. 23 that he had “nothing to lose” and that if he could not have her, no one could. She also said he tried to force her into their bedroom to “make love” to her one last time.

Three years before that, in 2010, her husband was violent and showed her his weapons, Traci Miscavish said in the PFA application.

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