Pa. man accused of killing 3 pleads not guilty

STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A northeastern Pennsylvania man accused of killing three people at a municipal meeting in August pleaded not guilty to homicide charges on Monday in a case in which prosecutors have vowed to seek the death penalty.

Rockne Newell, 59, sprayed dozens of rifle rounds as he targeted officials in Ross Township, a Pocono Mountains community about 85 miles north of Philadelphia, officials said.

Monroe County District Attorney David Christine intends to seek the death penalty for Newell, who pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.

Prosecutors have said the junk dealer was upset over the loss of his debris-strewn property after a lengthy court fight with the township. The township had acted on complaints that he lived in a storage shed, built an illegal culvert and used a bucket outside as a toilet.

The township supervisors were about 15 minutes into their public meeting on the first Monday in August when "things went terribly awry," township solicitor John Dunn, who was one of Newell's alleged targets but escaped injury, testified at the suspect's preliminary hearing last month.

Newell began shooting through a front window _ with bullets piercing the wall inside the supervisors' meeting room _ and began cutting down victims as they fled the building, according to state police.

Killed were Ross Township zoning officer David Fleetwood, 62; Gerard Kozic, 53; and James V. LaGuardia, 64.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Delay Grows
    The latest estimate says the Seattle tunnel project won't be done until August 2017

  • Hazardous Lots?
    Shoppers say Northgate Mall parking dividers have caused unnecessary injury
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.