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The York Dispatch
ELIZABETH EVANS, The York Dispatch
Article Last Updated: 08/31/2007 10:47:20 AM EDT
A retired state trooper who fired a handgun at two unoccupied cars in Fairview Township, then held police at bay for about seven hours, failed to show for his sentencing hearing yesterday afternoon.But defense attorney Matthew Gover said Stanley W. Foss III had a family emergency; Foss told Gover his aunt died yesterday morning but that he would try to get to the hearing, albeit late.
The rest of the hearing was rescheduled for this morning, when Foss — who is expected to testify — did not arrive by 4:05 p.m. yesterday.
Deputy prosecutor Jennifer Russell did not request an arrest warrant be issued for Foss, and presiding Common Pleas Judge John S. Kennedy did not order one.
Yesterday’s 2 p.m. hearing consisted of testimony from Dr. John Hume, a forensic psychiatrist based in Marysville, Perry County, who examined Foss at the request of Gover.
Hume said Foss was suffering from “major depression,” exacerbated by the death of his father from cancer.
He also had dependency issues from the numerous drugs prescribed to him by doctors, according to Hume. Those drugs included fentanyl, Valium, Percocet, antidepressants and amphetamine.
Some of those drugs should not have been taken together, Hume said, because they can cause adverse reactions including confusion, disorientation and hallucinations.
‘Psychotic’: “It was my opinion … that he was psychotic at the time of this incident,” the doctor testified. “He was seeing things that weren’t real.”
Hume noted Foss suffers from chronic pain and ongoing medical problems and has “a long history of prior episodes of depression.”
Hume said Foss should be ordered to participate in involuntary outpatient treatment.
Foss, 50, is formerly of Walnut Level Road in Fairview Township but is now living with his mother in Lebanon County, Gover said.
On April 25, the retired state police trooper pleaded guilty but mentally ill to reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, and guilty to possession of child pornography, which police found inside his former home after his arrest. It was an “open” plea, meaning the judge will decide the sentence.
Gover has said Foss could receive probation or up to nine months in prison.
A plea agreement with prosecutors allowed Foss to plead to the three charges and, in exchange, a charge of theft would be dropped, the attorney said. The theft charge stemmed from items allegedly belonging to the Pennsylvania State Police that were found in Foss’ home.
Police property: Fairview Township Police Chief Bernard Dugan has said that after the seven-hour standoff on May 8, 2006, officers seized about $1,700 worth of state police property that Foss should not have had, including a radar unit, a handheld radio, a stopwatch, pepper spray, state police uniform coveralls and a firearm shoulder holster.
During the standoff, which began after Foss shot at parked cars, three nearby apartments had to be evacuated. The county’s Quick Response Team was called in to assist, Dugan said, because officers felt there was a “significant danger to the public.”
After his arrest, Foss was involuntarily committed to York Hospital for a mental-health evaluation.
Hume testified yesterday that Foss shot at the two parked cars because he was “responding to hallucinations” that someone threw a rock at his door.
“His perception was he was just being attacked,” Hume said. “He thought he was shooting at an intruder.”
Gun expert, pilot: State police have said Foss retired with more than 25 years on the job, during which he served as a firearms instructor and as a helicopter pilot.
Before retiring, Foss had most recently worked in Troop J’s Lancaster barracks, and also worked in Troop H, based in Harrisburg.
— Reach Elizabeth Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-5429.