A shotgun – with a spent shell casing stuck in the chamber – was found about 25 feet from where a man was fatally shot while in his vehicle on Cats Back Road in West Earl Township, according to testimony.
That shotgun was traced to 27-year-old Stephen John Jones through transfer records and interviews with the gun’s previous owners, a detective testified at Jones’ preliminary hearing on Aug. 31.
Jones was sold the shotgun about three years ago, a previous owner told police.
Jones is charged with homicide for shooting 68-year-old Steve Walker just after midnight on Aug 9.
Police determined Walker was shot through the open driver’s side window of his vehicle. He was found deceased in the driver’s seat.
After finding sufficient evidence was presented at the preliminary hearing, District Judge Jonathan Heisse bound the case over for disposition in Lancaster County Court.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Ponessa presented evidence from several detectives and an employee of a Sheetz store in Ephrata – where Jones was seen (by witnesses and via surveillance cameras) minutes before the shooting.
Jones entered the store with a shotgun and demanded gas, the employee testified. Jones is seen on video attempting to get gas, then driving away. (Jones is charged for robbery regarding the incident at Sheetz.)
Several surveillance cameras on the path to and from the shooting scene showed the black pickup truck pass by. A detective testified there were no passengers in the vehicle.
Two witnesses – a motorist and bicyclist - also told police they saw a black pickup truck driving from the shooting scene.
Police eventually searched the pickup truck – a Chevy Silverado – and found two shotgun shells inside the cab, according to testimony.
Jones is at Lancaster County Prison without bail. He is presumed innocent.
He appeared at Monday’s preliminary hearing with two attorneys.
West Earl Township police Detective Dawn Ray and Lancaster County Detective Brandon McAnally filed charges. Both testified at the preliminary hearing.
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