Three Suspects to Stand Trial in Fatal Crawford County Shooting - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Three Suspects to Stand Trial in Fatal Crawford County Shooting

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The three suspects charged in connection to a fatal shooting at a Crawford County party are heading to trial.

During a preliminary hearing on Thursday, a judge bound over all charges against Stephen Kozak, 26, of Meadville.  Kozak is accused of fatally shooting 21-year-old Jimmy Johnson.  

Brandon Frantz, 19, and Tyquil Munson, 20, waived their rights to a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors also agreed to drop the charge of conspiracy to commit criminal homicide against Frantz.

On June 4, the violent incident happened in a wooded area off of Teepleville Road in Athens Township.

"It was a very chaotic scene,” said Crawford County District Attorney Francis Shultz.  “People tell us there was about 200 people at the party.  Alcohol, drugs, a lot of crazy things going on, and unfortunately, a young man gets killed."

During Kozak's preliminary hearing, a state trooper testified that Kozak willingly turned himself in to police to talk about the incident. 

During the interview, the trooper said Kozak told them that several fights broke out at the party, so he decided to leave.

As he walked to his car, Kozak told police that Frantz handed him a gun and told him to shoot it in the air.

Kozak told police that he took the gun and was walking towards his car, when a group of men aggressively approached him.

The trooper testified that Kozak said he fired the gun at the group, because he feared for his life.

“Obviously, from the testimony, from the statement my client gave to police, he acted in self-defense on the night in question,” said Kozak’s lawyer Gene Placidi.  “I don't think there is going to be any question to that."

Johnson was shot twice and died at the hospital. 

Police say Kozak then gave the gun to Munson, who is now accused of tampering with evidence.

All three men are expected to stand trial in November.

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