Man seeks reconsideration of sentence in VFW shooting

Police investigate the scene of a shooting outside of a VFW hall in Osceola Mills on Wednesday, April 1, 2014.
Police investigate the scene of a shooting outside of a VFW hall in Osceola Mills on Wednesday, April 1, 2014. Centre Daily Times, file

An Osceola Mills man who suffered a gunshot wound after fighting with a Bellefonte man was back in court Tuesday.

Jeff Swanson, 46, an inmate of the Clearfield County jail, filed a motion for a reconsideration of a sentence that was discussed during motions court in Clearfield County. In June, Swanson pleaded guilty to assault and harassment and was given a sentence of 30 days to one year in jail with one year additional probation.

The charges stem from an incident in April 2015 at the VFW in Osceola Mills when Robert Dwayne Hanson, 56, and Swanson fought in the parking lot. Both men were shot. Swanson was struck in the chest and suffered an injury to his right lung.

According to the criminal complaint, Swanson struck Hanson who had threatened him, first.

Swanson’s attorney, Curtis Irwin, told President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman that Swanson would like the probationary period to run concurrent and not consecutive to his jail time. Irwin stated that Swanson wants to leave the area as soon as possible after his sentence is complete.

Ammerman compared this to an old Western where someone makes a deal to get less time in exchange for getting “out of town by sundown,” before denying the motion.

When Swanson was originally sentenced, he apologized, saying this really affected his family and it was a mistake.

Ammerman noted at that time that it was fortunate that Swanson had not paid for his mistake with his life. He added that this is the kind of thing that happens when you add alcohol to bad tempers and throw a gun into the mix.

Hanson pleaded guilty in March to aggravated assault and person not to possess firearms. He was sentenced by Ammerman to three to 10 years in state prison.

According to court documents, Hanson was at the VFW bar when he mentioned to a woman that he borrowed a gun from somebody. He said he planned to shoot Swanson because he owed him money.

The woman went home and contacted Swanson who was at another bar. She warned him to stay away from Hanson because he said he was going to shoot him.

Swanson left that bar and went to the VFW. Once there, he opened the door, and yelled for Hanson to come out. Hanson stepped outside and the two men started to argue.

According to police, Swanson first slapped Hanson across the face and then punched him several times in the face and head. Hanson dropped onto the sidewalk and lost the gun that was hidden in his waist band. The two then struggled over the gun. At this point, the gun went off firing one shot into the air. Another shot grazed Hanson on the side of the head.

Swanson walked away and when he was approximately 15 feet from him, Hanson yelled his name. When Swanson turned around, Hanson fired the gun, striking Swanson in the right side of the chest.

EMS personnel arrived and provided medical treatment to both men. They were transported by ambulance and then to UPMC Altoona by helicopter where they were treated for their injuries.

A witness told police that Hanson asked him if he could borrow a gun. This witness stated he didn’t know Hanson was planning to shoot someone. He added that he thought Swanson owed Hanson $9,000 and Hanson said that Swanson had ripped him off.