A Pleasant Gap man accused of killing his uncle was bound over on felony charges of murder and aggravated assault Wednesday.
Ardell M. Gross, 36, appeared at the Centre County Courthouse for a preliminary hearing in the case of the shooting death of Richard S. Smalley. According to court documents, Gross called 911 after he shot his 60-year-old uncle on Oct. 27.
Spring Township police Detective Dale Moore testified during the hearing, saying he had arrived on the scene shortly after Gross’s 911 call. He said Smalley was found about 10-12 feet inside the house and a .357 revolver was also discovered on the scene.
Gross had previously lived at the Pleasant Gap house with his grandfather, Richard E. Smalley, Moore said, until the grandfather’s death the previous day. The house where Gross lived and where Richard S. Smalley died belonged to the grandfather, the CDT previously reported.
Moore said the timeline of the whole event was very brief, saying Smalley’s daughter had called him at 3:13 p.m., telling her he was on his way to Gross’s house. He called his daughter again at 3:27 p.m., Moore said, ending the call at 3:31 p.m.
Gross called 911 and reported the shooting at 3:32, he said.
District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller and Gross’s attorney, David Crowley, went back and forth on whether Gross felt “threatened” by his uncle, which then led to the shooting. Gross said he stopped the altercation before it got physical, Moore testified, and felt threatened that Smalley “would not leave my house” and was “trying to take everything.”
Moore testified that Gross had told him he initially shot Smalley in the leg, causing him to fall. A second round fired hit him in the head.
Officer Luke Nelson testified to being at Smalley’s autopsy with pathologist Dr. Harry Kamerow, and said the autopsy findings showed the first round had been fired from Smalley’s side from a distance of about 6-7 feet where it came to rest in his chest. The second round had been fired from about a foot away, he said.
Both wounds would have been fatal on their own, he said.
Gross was bound over by District Judge Thomas Jordan on all counts and he was taken back to the Centre County Correctional Facility. He continues to be held without bail as the case moves to the Court of Common Pleas and toward trial.