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Salineville man held on assault charge

LISBON — A Salineville man accused of holding a gun to his neighbor’s head was bound over to the grand jury on a felonious assault charge following a preliminary hearing in county Municipal Court before Judge Timothy McNicol on Thursday afternoon.

David Willis, 56, Black Alley, Salineville, reportedly had a loaded weapon and had been drinking when his neighbor, Tammie Tice, came over to visit, something she said she does often.

Tice testified during the hearing she was concerned about Willis, who has been a good friend for about four years. She said he has been sober for a long time but on that day, he had been drinking Rolling Rock and had loaded a 22-caliber handgun, first placing it to his own head. She had spoken to him about what he was doing, while he told her he intended to kill himself. Then at some point he changed his mind and put the gun to her head, threatening he was going to kill her, she testified.

He then turned left and tried to fire the gun, which jammed, Tice testified. After unjamming it, he fired nine shots into the ground in the direction of a bottle. Tice said she saw a container with more 22-caliber ammunition in it on the ground and she picked it up and put it into her pocket. She started to walk away, but Willis’ wife called and asked if there had been a noise in the neighborhood.

That’s when Willis told her, “Take my (expletive) ammo and get off my planet,” she testified.

After getting home, Tice said she spoke to her daughter and told her not to let her 11-year-old son come home because it was not safe. It was Tice’s daughter who called police.

Salineville police officer Hoyle West Jr. testified he was the first to arrive. While being questioned, first by Assistant County Prosecutor K. Bret Apple and then defense attorney Nick Barborak, West testified Willis willingly surrendered and he transported him to the county jail. He was assisted by the county sheriff’s office, highway patrol and a wildlife officer in investigating the matter, which was reported as a man with a gun pointed at someone’s face.

West and the others took statements from witnesses in the area and photographed the shell casings found on the ground. Willis was found with two live shells still in his pocket. The gun was never found.

Barborak questioned the felonious assault charge when Tice was not actually physically harmed, but Judge McNicol cited another case where it had been ruled that the combination of the acts of aiming a gun at someone and threatening them was enough to warrant the charge.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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