City man sentenced for assault

Jury found Everage guilty of pistol-whipping woman

HOLLIDAYSBURG — An Altoona man has been sentenced to spend 10.5 to 21 years in prison on aggravated assault and related convictions linked to a pistol-whipping in December 2016.

Judge Elizabeth Doyle imposed the sentence Tuesday on 29-year-old Maurice P. Everage, who continues to maintain that he was wrongly accused.

“I respect the jury’s decision … but I did not commit this crime,” Everage told the judge before she imposed the sentence.

The jury deliberated about 90 minutes in September before convicting Everage based on testimony from Altoona Police Detective Cpl. Terry Merritts, who explained how he linked Everage to the offense, and from a woman who identified Everage as her attacker upon seeing a group of mugshots.

Police said Everage had approached the women on the 2300 block of Sixth Avenue while they were walking home from a convenience store. She said he crossed to their side of the street, verbally threatened them, then pulled out a gun. After holding the barrel to her forehead, she said he used it to strike her face, prompting her and her companion to seek refuge at a nearby residence where she went into a seizure and was transported to the hospital for treatment.

Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks described the 10.5- to 21-year sentence as “extremely appropriate” for Everage who has been in trouble with the law since he was 10 or 11 years old. His juvenile offenses, Weeks said, included assaulting a teacher, a police officer and a juvenile rehabilitation center staff member.

While charges in the pistol-whipping case were pending, Everage was also charged and pleaded guilty to simple assault involving a woman he punched in the face before slamming her head on a road.

“The last 20 years are evidence that society and this defendant do not mix,” Weeks said.

Defense attorney Edward Meehan Jr. of Philadelphia offered no protest to a standard-range sentence of five to 10 years on the aggravated assault charge. Jail time on the other convictions could be served at the same time, he suggested.

Weeks asked for consecutive sentences, which Doyle imposed on charges of recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threats and illegal possession of a firearm, adding up to the 10.5 to 21 years.

The sentence reflects the serious, aggressive nature of the offenses, Doyle said, but still allows Everage the opportunity to finish his jail time while he’s a relatively young man.

Weeks praised Merritts for his police work and the victims for their cooperation in prosecuting Everage.

The result is a sentence that will keep the community safer, Weeks said.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.