As one assault case against Anthony Darnell Smith Jr. began to crumble on Thursday, legal troubles for the 26-year-old convicted felon escalated as city police charged him with allegedly beating and robbing a man as well as shooting a woman's pit bull, causing grave injuries and its eventual death.
The new charges against Smith, of 325 Mulberry St., accuse him of striking Anthony Rodriguez several times in the head and body with a gun as he robbed the man in the hallway of an adjoining property at 327 Mulberry St. about 1:20 a.m. March 19, police said.
Rodriguez was hospitalized with serious injuries, but he has since recovered, police said. An estimated $800 was stolen in the robbery, police said.
PHILIP A. HOLMES/Sun-Gazette
Anthony Darnell Smith Jr., right, is escorted to prison by Sheriff Deputy Eric Speigle on Thursday.
Four days later, Smith allegedly shot a pit bull named "Dexter" that belonged to Samantha Geiger inside his second-floor apartment, police said.
As the gravely wounded dog fled from the apartment about 11:15 p.m. March 23, Smith chased after it, firing another shot, which struck the animal that had sought shelter in some bushes, police said.
Someone alerted Geiger, who responded to the scene and took Dexter to a veterinarian, but the dog had to be euthanized, police said.
Smith has been incarcerated in the Lycoming County Prison since March 30 when he was arrested on charges of allegedly firing a shot at Seneca Mitchell's SUV outside Smith's apartment about 7:30 p.m. March 25.
Mitchell, who was in the driver's seat, was not injured. The two men had been in a heated argument at Smith's apartment about 90 minutes earlier, police said. Mitchell left the scene but later returned to the apartment. That is when Smith allegedly took aim at Mitchell's vehicle and fired the gun, police said.
On the same day that Smith was taken into custody on charges of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering and related offenses, officers executed a search warrant at his apartment as well as two other units in the same building. Hidden above ceiling tiles in his bathroom as well as in a room in another apartment were two handguns, police said.
Investigators believe one of the guns was used in the beating and robbery of Rodriguez while the other was used in shooting the pit bull.
Smith was brought before District Judge Allen P. Page III on Thursday morning to have his preliminary hearing on the charges that stem from him allegedly shooting at Mitchell's vehicle.
However, no sooner had the hearing started than it abruptly ended after Mitchell took the stand and told Page he was refusing to testify.
Mitchell's action forces the district attorney's office to file court papers to compel him to testify if the police want to pursue the case. Mitchell declined to comment when a reporter approached him after the hearing and asked him why he declined to testify. The hearing will continue at a date yet to be scheduled.
Following the brief proceeding, Page arraigned Smith on the new charges, which included robbery, aggravated and simple assault, theft, receiving stolen property, recklessly endangering, cruelty to animals and several firearm violations, including convicted felony not to possess a gun. He was returned to the prison in lieu of an additional $125,000 bail.