He allegedly used a sledgehammer in a fight. Why was the felony charge dismissed?

Andrew McMahon
Andrew McMahon

A Pennsylvania Furnace man accused of hitting another man with a sledgehammer handle had a felony aggravated assault charge dismissed on Wednesday.

Travis McMurtrie testified he was driving in Milesburg on July 8 when Andrew McMahon bumped the back bumper of his pickup truck. Mcmurtrie responded by getting out of his truck and approaching McMahon. A verbal argument ensued and turned physical when McMurtrie testified he was the one who initiated the fight.

Assistant Public Defender Shannon Malone asked McMurtrie if he was on top of McMahon at any point during the fight.

“I was obviously winning if that’s what you mean. Win or lose, right? It’s bound to happen,” McMurtrie testified. “The vehicle wasn’t the problem. It was him coming to chase me down with his big vehicle. That was the problem.”

McMurtrie testified McMahon had a relationship with the woman who was in McMurtrie’s truck.

He also testified he let McMahon off the ground after he saw a blue multi-tool in in the 31-year-old’s hand. McMahon then allegedly grabbed a sledgehammer handle from his truck and threatened to hit McMurtrie with it.

“I was like, ‘Dude, don’t hit me.’ Then he hit me in the arm,” McMurtrie testified.

McMahon was charged with one felony count of aggravated assault, one misdemeanor count of simple assault and one summary count of harassment.

Malone argued the charges should be dismissed because McMahon was protecting himself.

“Intent and defending oneself is mutually exclusive,” Malone said. “He didn’t reach for a firearm. He didn’t reach for an ax. He reached for a stick essentially saying, ‘Don’t come near me.’ ”

Assistant District Attorney Amanda Bernier disagreed and cited the testimony of a witness who said it was a verbal argument before McMahon grabbed the sledgehammer handle.

District Judge Allen Sinclair dismissed the aggravated assault charge, but bound McMahon over on the other two charges.

Sinclair set monetary bail at $25,000 on July 9, which McMahon posted three days later through a bondsman.