Suspect pleads not guilty in killing

City man accused in fatal shooting claims self-defense

HOLLIDAYSBURG — An Altoona man could go to trial next year on first-degree murder and related criminal charges linked to the fatal shooting in July of 58-year-old David Alan Hoover of Altoona.

John Patrick Stiver II, 34, who has been in Blair County Prison since his July 27 arrest, submitted not guilty pleas Thursday during a formal court arraignment before Judge Timothy Sullivan.

Stiver, accompanied by defense attorney Kristen Anastasi, said little in court, but advised Sullivan that he understood the charges filed against him.

During a preliminary hearing in October before Magisterial District Judge Daniel DeAntonio, Anastasi challenged the criminal charges by contending that because Stiver acted in self-defense, no crimes occurred.

DeAntonio, however, found sufficient evidence to send the case to county court.

Altoona police, who investigated the fatal shooting and filed the charges, accused Stiver of killing Hoover over a $250 cocaine sale.

Police said the pair were involved in a chase through Altoona streets at high speeds before Stiver pulled into the parking lot of Bethany Lutheran Church at Second Street and Fourth Avenue. After Hoover arrived at the parking lot, he allegedly got out of his vehicle, carrying a baseball bat and possibly a gun.

Based on the police investigation, Stiver had already retrieved a shotgun from the rear of his vehicle and was waiting for Hoover’s arrival. As Hoover approached Stiver’s vehicle, Stiver fired his shotgun at Hoover, criminal charges indicate.

First Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks said Thursday that he and Assistant District Attorney Nichole Smith will be prosecuting the case.

Sullivan directed Weeks to meet Anastasi within a week for a review of the evidence so she is in a position to file pretrial motions on Stiver’s behalf within 30 days. Sullivan also directed that a follow-up status conference be scheduled after December’s trial term concludes.