Jury split on felony charges for city man
Woomer found guilty of misdemeanors
HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Blair County jury on Wednesday acquitted an Altoona man on a felony charge of interfering with the custody of a child, while convicting him on misdemeanor counts of corruption of minors and furnishing alcohol to minors.
Because Adam J. Woomer has been in the Blair County Prison for about 13 months since being arrested in late February 2018, Woomer may be looking at a time-served sentence, Judge Daniel J. Milliron acknowledged Wednesday.
Woomer’s sentencing is set for May 30 and his bail, currently $30,000, remains intact. Woomer remains in jail in lieu of bail.
In preparation for sentencing, Milliron ordered a pre-sentence investigation, to be completed by the county parole and probation office.
Derek Elensky, assistant district attorney, requested the report and said after the trial concluded that he will ask the judge to impose top-of-the-range sentences on the misdemeanors.
“While we respect the jury’s verdict, this is a man who took advantage of a young impressionable 16-year-old boy who later ended up naked in a motel room,” Elensky said. “And (Woomer) is the one who provided the youth with access to drugs and alcohol.”
Woomer and defense attorney Scott N. Pletcher tried to convince the jury that Woomer had broken no laws.
Woomer acknowledged in court that he is gay and suggested that his arrest and prosecution developed from prejudice and lies.
Woomer said he and the young man met Feb. 25, 2018, through Grindr, a gay dating application. Profile information indicated that the young man was 21 years old and in college, Woomer said.
The two made plans to meet, with Woomer picking up the youth in Altoona, then buying alcohol and later heading to Greenwood, where Woomer was living in a motel apartment.
When the youth failed to come home, parents contacted police and said their son might be with Woomer, who had been told to stay away from the teenager. Inside Woomer’s motel apartment, police encountered Woomer in his underwear and the intoxicated, naked youth in a bed. When police couldn’t revive the youth, an ambulance was summoned.
Jurors took a little more than two hours to discuss the three offenses and eat lunch. They halted their discussions to ask the judge about the definition of interfering with the custody of a child.
Milliron’s reading of the definition indicated that interference can incur through the use of an enticement. But the judge’s instructions also described an acceptable defense: if the child is at least 14 years old and acted on his own instigation and not because he was enticed.
The jury foreperson also surprised those in the courtroom by answering “no” when the judge asked her if she agreed with the verdicts on each count. She was the first person the judge called upon in what was to be a poll of the jurors.
“So you don’t have an unanimous verdict,” Milliron told the jurors, then directed them to return to deliberations.
Within 10 minutes, the jury was back in the courtroom, and Milliron revised his questions asking each juror if he or she agreed with the rendered verdicts. All jurors, including the foreperson, answered yes.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.