The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 14, 2014

Sunbury man faces trial in attempted homicide case

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

LEWISBURG — SUNBURY — A felon from New Jersey accused by police of attempted homicide appeared before District Judge Ben Apfelbaum on Tuesday, and after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing on the charges to Northumberland County Court, the Sunbury resident asked to have his bail reduced from the highest figure ever set in an city case.

Aaron Brannon, 28, of 129 Chestnut St., was arrested Jan. 2 after his girlfriend told Sunbury police that she wanted to end their relationship, so Brannon fired a gun toward her as she sat on a bed in their city apartment.

“I love you,” Brannon muttered to the woman as she stared at him across Apfelbaum’s courtroom. “I love you.”

She stared straight at Brannon and wiped tears from her eyes.

Police say Brannon, originally from New Jersey, shot toward the woman, also of 129 Chestnut St., and that he attempted to kill her.

“I meant to kill myself, not her,” Brannon told Apfelbaum when he was first arrested.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Brannon told Apfelbaum he is back on the medicine he needs as treatment for a mental illness.

Brannon, who originally said he wanted the hearing held, changed his mind after 2 1/2 hours of attorneys talking back and forth. He ended up waiving his right but asked for the bail reduction.

“Based on the crimes and the fact he is a felon who should not have had a gun and he may not take his medications and he drinks alcohol, letting him out of prison is a recipe for disaster,” Assistant District Attorney Ann Targonski told Apfelbaum. “We believe he should remain in jail.”

Apfelbaum told the defendant, “These are serious charges. This is as close as it gets to having no bail at all.”

Before Apfelbaum delivered the news that Brannon’s bail would be lowered to $500,000 from $1.25 million, Brannon’s father addressed the court.

“I am here for my son,” he said. “I live in a drug- and alcohol-free home, and we will do everything to work with my son if he is released.”

Apfelbaum said he would make it a condition that if Brannon makes bail, he must live with his father.

Brannon, who is represented by county Chief Public Defender Ed Greco, was returned to the Northumberland County Prison in lieu of bail.

He is charged with attempted criminal homicide, two counts of aggravated assault, a convict not being allowed to own a firearm, terroristic threats, possessing instruments of crime, prohibited offensive weapons and recklessly endangering another person.