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DA will dismiss Myers’ charges

Schellsburg man in Thurman case cooperating with prosecutor

From Mirror staff reports

The Bedford County district attorney announced that Schellsburg resident Terry Myers will have his charges dropped in exchange for his testimony in the commonwealth’s case against Orsino Von Thurman.

Thurman, 38, of Milwaukee, faces multiple charges in an Aug. 24, 2020, shooting incident in Schellsburg in which gunfire was exchanged during a Black Lives Matter march that was heading to Washington, D.C.

Myers, 52, testified during Thurman’s preliminary hearing Wednesday morning at the Bedford County Courthouse, detailing the events that led to shots allegedly being exchanged between Thurman and Myers.

For his alleged part in the incident, Thurman faces felony charges of aggravated assault with attempts to cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm prohibited along with misdemeanor counts of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and summary harassment.

During the court proceedings, District Attorney Lesley Childers-Potts presented the testimony of three witnesses including Myers, his father, Elmer Myers, 77, and Trooper Adam Zinn.

Elmer Myers and Terry Myers provided eye witness testimony concerning the events of the night, while Zinn provided testimony concerning the progress of the investigation, evidence collected at the scene, lab results and conclusions drawn from the statements and evidence collected.

Magisterial District Judge Brian Baker presided over the hearing and bound for court all charges against Thurman.

In a news release Thursday, Childers-Potts said an agreement was made Wednesday between the DA’s office and Terry Myers, represented by Attorney Matthew Zatko.

“That agreement allowed for the testimony of Terry Myers at the preliminary hearing for Thurman, as well as all future hearings where his testimony is requested by the Commonwealth,” Childers-Potts said in a statement.

“In exchange for his cooperation and complete and truthful testimony, at the conclusion of the case against Thurman, the charges against Myers will be dismissed with prejudice.”

Childers-Potts stated that her office decided the agreement was best for Bedford County and to successfully prosecute the case against Thurman.

“I am very concerned about the danger to society Mr. Thurman seems to create in most of the jurisdictions where he has been arrested, including Bedford County,” Childers-Potts stated.

Based on cases filed in Wisconsin and Illinois, Thurman is not to possess a firearm in nearly every state he passed through in August 2020, Childers-Potts said.

In addition, recent charges against Thurman in DeWitt County, Illinois, “are violent and posed a danger to many innocent lives in that county,” she stated.

In an effort to get a conviction and to ensure Thurman receives a sentence in Pennsylvania that “is suitable for someone with his criminal history,” Childers-Potts said Terry Myers’ testimony is crucial.

Myers has cooperated with the district attorney’s office throughout the case, she said.

“I realize there will be people who disagree with my decision to enter into that agreement with Mr. Myers and his attorney, but I firmly believe it is the correct decision and also the right thing to do. I stand by the decision I made,” Childers-Potts stated.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Thurman’s counsel requested a reduction in bail, but Childers-Potts successfully opposed that request, arguing that prior criminal offenses, a history of bench warrants for failure to appear in other jurisdictions, the dangerous nature of the Thurman’s criminal acts, both past and present, and a lack of ties to Bedford County and the state of Pennsylvania were all reasons that bail should remain the same.

Thurman’s bail remains set at $350,000 straight cash bond.

Terry Myers faced multiple charges after the 2020 incident, but the most serious charges were either withdrawn or dismissed during his preliminary hearing last year. Myers was slated for trial in April on misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment and a summary harassment offense.

While Myers cooperated with state police during the investigation and willingly appeared for preliminary arraignment following the filing of the charges, Childers-Potts stated, Thurman failed to return to Pennsylvania for arraignment, and an arrest warrant was obtained for his apprehension.

Returning Thurman to Bedford County to face charges has been a struggle, the district attorney stated.

The DA’s office made contact with the prosecutor responsible for the charges filed in DeWitt County, Illinois, following Thurman’s arrest in that jurisdiction. As the prosecutors worked together to finalize the extradition of Thurman back to Bedford County, he contested the extradition.

The DA’s office then obtained a governor’s warrant to force Thurman back to Pennsylvania. Once the governor’s warrant was secured, authorities in Illinois denied bail and Thurman was held without bond, Childers-Potts stated.

Thurman then attempted to fight the enforcement of the governor’s warrant, however a court in Illinois denied his request, and Childers-Potts was notified that Thurman could be brought back to Bedford County. The process to extradite Thurman back to Pennsylvania after his arrest in Illinois took several months to complete. On Jan. 13, Thurman was successfully returned to Bedford County.

According to a news report in The Pantagraph, a Bloomington, Illinois, newspaper, Thurman faces charges in DeWitt County Circuit Court after allegedly leading police on a multi-county chase and a standoff that caused the temporary closing of U.S. 51 in Macon County.

Thurman is accused of domestic battery, two counts of aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, one count of child abduction, two counts of endangering the life or health of a child and four counts of possession of a weapon by a felon.

In the Sept. 15, 2021, incident, police responded to a report of domestic battery at a motel and watched as Thurman left the parking lot. After learning he was wanted on active warrants, was armed and had left the scene with an infant, officers pursued and eventually stopped his vehicle with spike strips.

Once stopped, Illinois State Police SWAT and a crisis negotiation team were able to convince Thurman to give up the infant before he fled again south on U.S. 51.

His vehicle was later “disabled” by the SWAT team and he was taken into custody.

Multiple weapons and body armor were recovered from his vehicle, according to reports.

In another published report, on WISN ABC 12, Thurman, who reportedly goes by the name “Iamtheone Cino,” streamed both the chase and the police negotiations live on social media.

After his arrest and arraignment, Thurman was able to post a total of $20,000 bond related to his case in DeWitt County, a case in LaSalle County and the Bedford County, Pa., case, the newspaper reported.

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