"He laid me down next to my son ... used duct tape, bound him up and said, 'Be quiet or I'll shoot.'"
That's how Angelina Waldman described in U.S. Middle District Court here Wednesday the ordeal of facing the barrel of a pistol while she and her family's arms and legs were bound by duct tape in an invasion of their residence in the early morning hours of Dec. 10, 2007.
Waldman, wife of John Waldman, owner of C.A. Shire Jewelers, 456 River Ave., testified on behalf of Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Simmers in the criminal trial for Terrell Carter, 28, who is accused of taking part in the home invasion and robbing a bank in Jersey Shore, both incidents occurring in 2007.
"I said, 'Please! Don't hurt my children,' " Waldman said.
Waldman told the jurors she was awakened by a gunman holding a pistol while another gunman held a pistol on her husband. The family, she said, was huddled into a basement family room and told to lie flat.
"One said, 'We're professionals and we're not going to hurt you,' " Waldman said.
Her husband's frantic 911 call was played for jurors.
"These sons of (expletive) know where I live," Waldman can be heard saying on the audiotape. By that time, the dispatcher summoned the police to the jewelry store in the city and to the house near Route 654.
Waldman said he provided the bandits with an incomplete passcode and feared they would return to his house.
"I'm afraid if they don't get what they want, they're going to come back and kill me," he said.
Jovan Williamson, Carter's accomplice, who has pleaded guilty to committing bank robbery and to brandishing a firearm, according to Simmers, testified for the prosecution Wednesday.
He said he fled the home, got into a SUV and drove away, speeding down Route 654.
"I was going 80 mph and hit some water," he said. The vehicle crashed.
Carter was driving away, too, and following right behind him. Williamson said he got into the car with Carter.
While Waldman was on the cellphone with the dispatcher, the emergency service worker told Waldman a wreck occurred on Route 654 at the site known locally as Deadman's Curve.
At the time, Williamson was living at a residence in the 300 block of Academy Street, while Carter was staying at a home on Park Avenue, according to court documents.
As part of the cross-examination of the Waldmans, attorney Robert Hoffa asked the couple to recall specific colors of the ski masks used. At one point, Hoffa asked about whether they saw any camouflage and if one of the gunmen could be identified as being a light- or dark-skinned man.
In his cross examination of Williamson, Hoffa showed evidence of Williamson's lengthy criminal history but added Williamson said he was "basically forced into the bank robbery and home invasions, including an attempted one in Altoona and another in Muncy."
Williamson said he disputed much of the police transcripts taken from interviews.
Hoffa asked if Williamson, who in pleading guilty faces a mandatory sentence of seven years, desired a deal for cooperating with police.
Williamson told jurors it was Carter's idea to rob the house, that he had a girlfriend "case" the jewelry store and that he followed the business owner to his home on Wells Road.
Williamson testified that after the bank robbery, in which $8,500 was taken, he and Carter shared the cash.
Trooper Dean Benedict testified that police took photographic evidence of the vehicle involved in the crash.
Among the photographs taken was that of a jewelry box and contents, a black hat and bleach and a cigarette found in the pocket of a pair of pants.
The trial before Judge John E. Jones III is expected to continue until at least Friday.