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Altoona man sentenced in beatings

CLEARFIELD — An Altoona man was sentenced to state prison Monday for his involvement in an alleged beating of two men at a Clearfield County residence.

John Lawrence Wissinger, 29, pleaded guilty during colloquy court on Monday before Judge Paul E. Cherry to felony criminal conspiracy/criminal mischief and misdemeanor recklessly endangering another person. He was originally also charged with two counts of conspiracy/aggravated assault.

Cherry sentenced him to 10 months to two years in state prison, which will run consecutive to his current state prison sentence for a probation violation. He was ordered to pay over $2,600 in restitution.

The charges stem from an incident on Sept. 22, 2019. According to the affidavit of probable cause, two men arrived at a Beccaria residence to pick up a vehicle that had been borrowed by a woman there.

One of the victims said when he got out of the Audi they arrived in, “right away people were everywhere.” Both James Potts, now 20, Fallentimber, and William Benjamin Cochran, 35, Coalport, were identified by the victims as being among the seven or eight people who reportedly assaulted them.

Cochran allegedly pushed a gun against a victim’s mouth and threatened to kill him. Police were able to collect fingerprints from the vehicle, which suffered over $8,000 in damage. In an interview with police, Potts confirmed that Cochran and Wissinger were involved in the assault, according to the complaint.

Cochran pleaded guilty and was sentenced by President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman in September 2020 to 30 months to six years in state prison for two counts of aggravated assault. Potts was sentenced in October 2020 to two to 20 years in state prison total for this case and four others for which he pleaded guilty.

Wissinger also pleaded guilty to flight to avoid apprehension in an unrelated case that occurred on Sept. 30, 2019 in Coalport. For this he was given a concurrent state prison sentence of six months to two years.

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