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Trial witness gets probation on drug charges

Poullos testified in murder case against Stiver

HOLLIDAYSBURG — An Altoona man who testified a year ago about an alleged jailhouse murder confession has been sentenced to 10 years’ probation on two felony drug offenses.

Judge Wade Kagarise handed down the sentence Tuesday to Robert Allen Poullos, 40, who has been out of jail on unsecured bail since April 2019. The probationary sentence requires Poullos to undergo drug and alcohol and mental health evaluations and to pursue recommended treatment.

Defense attorney Robert Donaldson advised Kagarise that he and District Attorney Pete Weeks engaged in protracted negotiations to arrive at the recommended sentence.

“The recommendation is appropriate,” Kagarise said.

Altoona police arrested Poullos in 2018 based on evidence from an investigation showing that on June 11, 2018, he sold four suboxone strips to a confidential informant on the 100 block of Lloyd Street. The transaction was for $80.

Poullos told a jury in January 2020 that he was being housed in the committing area of the Blair County Prison where John Patrick Stiver II spoke of shooting 58-year-old David Alan Hoover on July 26, 2018, in the parking lot of Bethany Lutheran Church, Second Street and Third Avenue.

Poullos testified that Stiver said he aimed for Hoover’s throat during the confrontation over a failed drug deal.

Stiver, who maintained that he fired at Hoover in self defense, was convicted of first-degree murder and is now serving life in prison without parole.

Poullos offered no comment Tuesday during his sentencing hearing in which he participated by video transmission because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The hearing was scheduled after he rendered guilty pleas in October to felony charges of possession with intent to deliver and criminal use of a communications facility.

Donaldson and Assistant District Attorney Simon Ryder advised Kagarise that the recommended 10-year probationary sentence was reflective of Poullos’ cooperation on the Stiver case.

If Poullos wants to seek early termination of his probationary sentence, the recommended sentence calls for him to first seek consent of the District Attorney’s Office, Ryder said.

Kagarise, in the sentencing order, said that option becomes available after Poullos completes five years of probation. He will be under the direction of the county’s adult parole and probation office.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay

Stephens is at 814-946-7456.

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