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Coalport man pleads guilty in seven cases

Cochran to spend up to 8 years in prison for assault, killing dogs

CLEARFIELD — A Coalport man will spend up to eight years in state prison for various offenses, including an assault in which he threatened to kill a man, and for his part in the killing of two dogs.

William Benjamin Cochran, 34, pleaded guilty in seven different cases during sentencing court in Clearfield County on Monday.

Cochran was sentenced by President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to 30 months to six years in state prison for two counts of aggravated assault in connection with an assault on two men on Sept. 22, 2019, in Beccaria Township.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, after the two men arrived at a residence to pick up a vehicle, they were attacked by several people when they got out of their car.

Once they were back in their vehicle, the actors then hit the car with a baseball bat, smashing the windows before they dragged one of the men out of the car and beat him.

It was at this point that Cochran pushed a gun against the man’s mouth and threatened to kill him, the victim told police.

James Potts, 19, of Fallentimber, was identified as one of the other men.

Police were able to collect fingerprints from the vehicle, which had damage estimated at over $8,000.

In an interview with police, Potts confirmed that Cochran and John Lawrence Wissinger, 28, of Altoona, were involved in the assault, according to the complaint.

Wissinger is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on assault charges on Oct. 7.

In the animal abuse case, Cochran, Potts and Joseph Brown, 23, of Fallentimber, allegedly threatened a woman at a residence on Oak Ridge Road in Jordan Township on Sept. 5, 2019, according to police.

Potts allegedly pointed a shotgun at the woman and demanded she get down on the ground. She became afraid and released two dogs for her protection.

Potts reportedly shot and killed both dogs.

For this case, Cochran pleaded guilty to two felony counts of conspiracy/aggravated cruelty to animals, criminal conspiracy/terroristic threats, intimidation of witness and recklessly endangering another person for which he received a concurrent sentence of 12 months to two years in state prison.

Potts has also signed a plea agreement in this case and is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

For a retail theft charge, Cochran received a consecutive sentence of six months to two years in state prison, making his total sentence 36 months to eight years.

In the other cases, he pleaded guilty to contraband by an inmate, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief for which he received concurrent sentences.

He was ordered to pay a total of almost $9,000 in restitution.

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