MOUNT CARMEL — One of the men accused of covering up the homicide of Sean Maschal waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Thursday.
David Matthew Brown, 35, of Ashland, and defense attorney Kathleen Lincoln, of Sunbury, appeared briefly in front of Mount Carmel District Judge William Cole to sign the paperwork for the hearing waiver. Lincoln informed the judge that her client planned to take his formal arraignment in the Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas at 9 a.m. Nov. 4, a hearing that a majority of clients often waive.
Brown is facing 13 felonies: Criminal conspiracy to commit robbery; robbery; criminal conspiracy to commit theft; theft; criminal conspiracy to commit receiving stolen property; receiving stolen property; criminal conspiracy to possess a firearm while being a convicted felon; possessing a firearm while being a convicted felon; aiding consummation of a crime; four counts of hindering apprehension; and two misdemeanors: tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.
Brown, currently a state inmate at SCI-Chester on unrelated charges and held on $500,000 bail for the latest charges, helped Brian Heffner conceal evidence of the homicide, knowing he was making those items unavailable to officers performing the investigation, according to court documents. He harbored Heffner in his home in Ashland, provided transportation to Heffner before, during and after the homicide, concealed evidence and provided false information, police said.
Police said they didn’t call or attempt to call 911 or render aid for Maschal. Instead, they dumped the body in a wooded area near Locust Gap, robbed him and then sold the murder weapon for drugs in Lebanon, police said.
Brown and another witness, Robert Villari, 32, of Coal Township, told police that Brian Heffner, 38, of Coal Township, fired the gun that killed Sean Maschal, 33, of Mount Carmel, in Mount Carmel Township on Sept. 12, 2017, according to a criminal complaint. Maschal was found the next day, off Route 901 in a wooded section of Mount Carmel Township, east of Locust Gap. Mount Carmel Township Police arrested Heffner on April 12, 2018, and charged him with 14 counts, including homicide, aggravated assault and robbery.
Neither Villari nor Heffner have any pending court dates.
Lincoln and Assistant District Attorney Michael Seward did not have comments following the hearing.