The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 7, 2014

Shamokin man gets county jail term in 'peek-a-boo' case

SUNBURY — Northumberland County Public Defender Melissa Norton argued on Monday the district attorney’s office was punishing a Shamokin man for exercising his right to a jury trial by backing out of a plea agreement that was in place prior to trial.

Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor listened to that argument, then sentenced David Latsha, 59, to a county prison term of six to 23 months on a reckless endangerment charge.

In what became known as the “peek-a-boo” case, Latsha was charged with engaging in a game that ended when Kinsey was blasted with a .357 Magnum and suffered a leg wound.

In March, a county jury found Latsha not guilty of two counts each of aggravated and simple assault. The jury agreed, however, that he was guilty of reckless endangerment.

During the sentencing hearing on Monday, Norton argued that prior to the March trial, Latsha was offered a deal that would have placed him on probation with no jail time.

Norton said Latsha refused the deal and wanted to go to trial to prove his innocence.

The judge said he reviewed the case and decided on a county prison term of six to 23 months with credit for 69 days of time served.

During the trial in March, Norton pointed out that Kinsey gave a different version of the shooting every time he told his story. Kinsey testified that after he was shot in the leg, he downed a bath-salt cocktail to ease the pain while waiting for police and paramedics to arrive.

“If Paul Kinsey came back tomorrow he would tell you all even another version of what happened that night,” Norton told the jurors.

During his testimony, Kinsey said he had fought with his girlfriend and went to Latsha’s house. Just after the beer ran out, Kinsey heard a knock on the front door, and fearing the caller was his girlfriend, he hid in a darkened upstairs room.

In Kinsey’s version of events, when the coast was clear, Latsha called for him, then climbed the stairs, entered the room and found Kinsey standing there with the barrel of a BB gun hiding his face and with knives tucked inside his belt buckle and others in his hand.

Latsha then squeezed the trigger on his handgun, and hit his drinking buddy in the leg.

Norton told the jury that even though police were claiming Latsha was high on bath salts, blood tests did not find the drug in his system.

Northumberland County Assistant District Attorney Michael Toomey prosecuted the case.

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