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5 people arrested in Lancaster protests waive preliminary hearings

Four of the suspects will stand trial, while the fifth pleaded guilty to the charges against him and was sentenced to time served to 23 months in prison.
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LANCASTER, Pa. — Five of the 13 people facing charges after protests outside the Lancaster Bureau of Police Station on Sept. 13 and 14 waived their preliminary hearings on Monday, the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office announced.

Preliminary hearings for the others facing charges will occur at later dates, the DA's Office said.

Jamal S. Newman, T. Jay Fry, and Jessica Lopez will be tried on felony charges of riot, conspiracy, and related offenses in Lancaster County Court, District Judge Bruce Roth ordered Monday. 

Seth Gardner will face a misdemeanor count of propulsion of missiles and a summary count of public drunkenness, Roth ordered.

A fifth person, Timothy Garcia, 31, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief and possession of cocaine and was sentenced to time served to 23 months in prison. He must also pay restitution, according to the DA's Office.

Credit: Lancaster Bureau of Police
Timothy Garcia and Seth Gardner

Some of the charges against Fry, Newman, and Lopez were modified, the DA's Office said. 

The suspects were among the crowd protesting after the death of 27-year-old Ricardo Munoz in a police-involved shooting in the city on Sept. 13.

Credit: Crimewatch
Jamal Newman

A first-degree felony count of arson against Newman was amended to a summary, based on the value of what was burned, and felony arson originally filed against Fry was withdrawn due to insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction, according to the DA's Office.

Credit: Crimewatch
T-J Fry

In addition, multiple counts of conspiracy were consolidated to one count of conspiracy to commit riot, according to the DA's Office.

"The investigation is ongoing regarding anyone else who was involved in crimes on Sept 13. and Sept. 14, and we will continue to pursue charges and prosecution against those individuals," the DA's Office said Monday in a press release.

Credit: Crimewatch
Jessica Lopez

Part of the investigative process involves review of video, the DA's Office added.

“The actions of police and SERT in an extremely volatile environment last week minimized property damage and protected lives,” District Attorney Heather Adams said in Monday's press release. “Moving forward, we will assure fair process for all defendants by meticulously analyzing all charges and determining what can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.” 

In response to motions from defense attorneys for Newman, Fry, and Lopez, Roth modified bail to unsecured amounts, meaning funds are not required for release, the DA's Office said.

All three remain under bail conditions, which include a ban from being within a block of the Lancaster city police station. 

Roth ordered Lopez to remain under house arrest, while Gardner's bail was reduced from $10,000 to $5,000.

Newman and Fry were among nine of the 13 people charged whose bail was originally set at $1 million before being modified last Thursday by Lancaster County Judge Dennis Reineker. 

Fry's bail was reduced to $25,000 cash with house arrest if bail was posted, while Newman's bail was set at $100,000 cash.

Others whose bail was modified to $50,000 by Reinaker last week include:

  • Taylor Enterline, 20
  • Kathryn Patterson, 20
  • Lee Wise, 29 (with house arrest)
  • Dylan Davis, 28 (with house arrest)
  • Talia Gessner, 18, (with house arrest if bail is posted)

In addition, Reinaker ordered bail for Barry Jones, 30, to be set at $100,000 unsecured.