Man faces attempted murder charge

An Altoona man now faces an attempted murder charge in connection with the late August shooting and assault of a Coupon man.

Joshua S. Shannon, 23, was arraigned Thursday morning on the new charge, plus related charges, after prosecutors informed Magisterial District Judge Steven Jackson that the original charges were being withdrawn.

Shannon was originally charged with criminal attempt homicide, which includes voluntary and involuntary manslaughter options. But in the latest criminal complaint with the attempted murder charge, police accuse Shannon of going to Coupon on Aug. 29 “with a premeditated intent to murder the victim, Mervin Lee Sollenberger.”

“What they’ve done is take the manslaughter cases off the table,” Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio said Thursday.

Jackson, who presided over the arraignment, also signed off on related charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, terroristic threats, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and harassment. He set Shannon’s bail at $250,000 cash.

A preliminary hearing on the latest charges will be scheduled, Jackson said.

In the latest criminal complaint, police report that Sollenberger suffered two gunshot wounds, one to his face and one to the back of his head.

Sollenberger was scheduled for surgery at a Pittsburgh hospital to repair his sinus cavity, plus his nose and cheek bones, police said.

In the criminal complaint, police allege that Sollenberger incurred the gunshot injuries in an area east of Maple Street in Coupon, where Shannon lured Sollenberger after showing up the Sollenberger residence and asking for help with a stuck truck.

When Sollenberger returned to his residence, police said his wife, Pamela, described her husband as covered in blood, prompting her to ask what happened.

Mervin Sollenberger’s response was “Josh set me up,” police said the wife told them.

Police also interviewed two people who accompanied Shannon to Coupon and reportedly waited a short distance away from the area where Shannon met with Sollenberger. One of the interviewees, police said, reported overhearing Shannon threaten to kill Sollenberger, followed by what she believed was a gunshot.

The criminal complaint also indicates that Shannon was angry with Sollenberger for providing police with information.