Assault suspect found guilty

Everage used gun to pistol-whip woman, causing her to seek treatment at hospital

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Blair County jury took less than 90 minutes Tuesday to find an Altoona man guilty of nine criminal charges linked to a pistol-whipping assault in December.

The jury rejected a claim of mistaken identity offered on behalf of 29-year-old Maurice P. Everage, who will be sentenced Nov. 21 on convictions of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threats and firearm violations.

Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks said he intends to seek a lengthy sentence and asked Judge Elizabeth Doyle to revoke the $80,000 cash bail that Everage has been unable to post.

“He’s a danger to the community,” Weeks said.

Doyle honored Weeks’ request, so Everage will remain in the Blair County Prison where he has been since his January arrest.

Altoona police charged him in connection with the pistol-whipping assault after two women reported the Dec. 9 incident, which occurred while they were walking home during the early-morning hours of Dec. 9 on the 2300 block of Sixth Avenue.

The pair said they were headed home from a convenience store and were approached by a man who initially asked them what they were staring at, then suggested that they could get shot “for talking to people the way you do.”

The man subsequently revealed a gun and put the barrel against the forehead of a woman before striking her across the face and chin with the pistol, causing her to seek treatment at UPMC Altoona.

While the woman who was struck said she didn’t know her attacker, she later identified Everage when presented with eight photographs of possible suspects.

Defense attorney Norman Callan tried to convince the jury that Everage had been falsely accused of the crime. He reminded the jury that the women initially described their assailant as a “super-dark-skinned male,” about 5-foot-6, which conflicts with Everage’s appearance and a height reported at 5-foot-11.

Guessing someone’s height and weight is not always easy, Weeks said, and it becomes even more difficult during an assault in an area that’s dark in the early-morning hours.

Callan said he was disappointed by the verdict.

“I thought we offered a strong case of mistaken identity,” he said.

Weeks said the victim had no reason to lie, and he told the jury in his closing, “There’s absolutely no motive for her to make things up.”

Everage showed no reaction in response to the jury’s verdict and bowed his head as deputies escorted him from the courtroom.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.