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Pa. man indicted after fall manhunt

OBSERVER File Photo Police and first responders are pictured during an October search in the Westfield area for a man wanted following a burglary incident.

A Pennsylvania man who was the subject of a large search in the fall has been indicted on charges of first-degree criminal trespass, third-degree burglary and burglary.

James Gnacinski pleaded not guilty to charges filed in the indictment during arraignment held in county court Dec. 28.

The Erie, Pa., man’s arrest capped a search that began after sheriff’s deputies were alerted to a possible burglary incident at a hunting cabin on Route 394 in Westfield. A man fled from the cabin as deputies approached.

Sheriff James Quattrone told The Post-Journal at the time that the suspect had a shotgun with him but dropped it when entering a wooded area. During the subsequent search, a man’s coat was found that contained a Pennsylvania driver’s license. A short time later, a vehicle with a registration matching the man’s name was found stuck on a well road near the Route 394 cabin.

The suspect, later identified as Gnacinski, was located the following day in the town of Chautauqua.

It was later learned that the Erie man was wanted on attempted homicide and a bevy of other charges in Pennsylvania stemming from a domestic incident. He has not yet been arraigned on the charges in Pennsylvania, which also include two counts of aggravated assault, burglary — bodily injury crime, criminal trespass, intimidation of victim, terroristic threats, and two counts of simple assault.

A conference on the indictment filed in Chautauqua County is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 31. Gnacinski is being represented locally by the county Public Defender’s Office.

In other court news,

¯ Dimas Rios, 36, was indicted on a charge of assault. Rios pleaded not guilty during arraignment Dec. 28, and a conference for Jan. 31 has been set.

¯ Casey Saeger, 33, was indicted on a charge of aggravated contempt. Saeger entered a plea of not guilty during arraignment Dec. 28. A conference for Jan. 31 has been scheduled.

¯ Neal Ramos, 30, was indicted on a charge of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Ramos pleaded not guilty during arraignment Jan. 6, and a conference has been set for Feb. 9.

¯ Barry Mead, 39, was indicted on a charge of fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Mead pleaded not guilty during a Dec. 23 arraignment, and a March 4 conference has been set.

¯ Hashaun Leeper, 46, has been indicted on charges of driving while intoxicated, aggravated DWI and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. Leeper pleaded not guilty during arraignment Jan. 4, and a conference has been set for Feb. 7.

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