Muncy Valley man held on charges of shotgun threats

MUNCY – After hearing more than hour of testimony from three prosecuting witnesses, a district judge ruled there was sufficient evidence to hold accused gunman William H. Hellenthal, 60, on most charges, including attempted homicide and terroristic threats.

Armed with a loaded shotgun, Hellenthal walked into the home of his estranged wife while she and her boyfriend were watching television together on Dec. 20, police said.

Hellenthal pointed the gun in the direction of the boyfriend, telling him “I’m going to kill you,” state Trooper Angela Bieber alleged in an affidavit.

The incident occurred on Beaver Run Road, just south of Beaver Lake, in Penn Township, police said.

The boyfriend, David Barto, 52, got up from a chair and bolted to another room, slamming the door behind him, police said.

Barto heard noise that sounded like some kind of struggle and then a gunshot, police said.

Hellenthal reportedly tried to force his way into the room where Barto had fled, and when he could not, he poked the barrel of the shotgun through the partially-opened door, police said.

Barto grabbed hold of the gun, disarmed Hellenthal and restrained him until state troopers arrived and took him into custody, court records state.

On the night of his arrest, Hellenthal, of Muncy Valley, told police that he had no intent on killing anyone, but that he was upset and depressed.

At a preliminary hearing on Friday morning, District Judge Jon E. Kemp heard testimony from Bieber, Barto and the estranged wife, Jean.

Kemp ruled there was enough evidence to hold Hellenthal on charges of attempted homicide, two counts of simple assault and one count each of aggravated assault, burglary, felony trespassing, terroristic threats and illegal possession of a firearm. The last charge stemmed from Hellenthal failing to turn over the shotgun when he was served a protection from abuse order in November, police said.

Kemp reserved his decision on a second aggravated assault charge in the case. He is expected to make a decision at the beginning of next week.

Hellenthal was initially jailed in the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $ 1 million, but a county judge later ruled Hellenthal was ineligible for bail.