Massie case passed to grand jury

Published 10:07 am Friday, April 10, 2009

IRONTON — The case of an Ironton man arrested last week in connection with the shooting of another man will go to a Lawrence County grand jury, Ironton Municipal Court Judge O. Clark Collins ruled Thursday.

George “Marty” Massie, 26, is charged with felonious assault and tampering with evidence in the April 2 assault on William “Joey” Scherer, 37, of Pedro.

Massie’s attorney, Warren Morford, said he is mulling over self-defense as well as not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) as justifications for the incident.

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During Thursday’s preliminary hearing in municipal court, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Detective Aaron Bollinger testified he was called to Tipton’s Mini-Mart on State Route 93 in Elizabeth Township last Thursday in regard to a shooting. Once there, he found Scherer in the back of an ambulance, being treated for two gunshot wounds, one to the neck and one to the shoulder.

Scherer had already begun to tell Sheriff Jeff Lawless what had happened and had implicated Massie. With this information, Bollinger said he went to the home of George Alvin Massie, Marty Massie’s father, and arranged to speak with Marty Massie about the incident.

“At the onset he denied anything about the shooting,” Bollinger said. “He said he heard he had supposedly shot someone but he said he didn’t know who.”

But Bollinger said in the course of the interview, Massie changed his story. Bollinger said Massie told him that he, his father, his brother, Jeremy Massie, and another man, Bob Hall, had been riding four-wheelers and had driven past Scherer’s house on Etna-Waterloo Road when Scherer “came after them” in his truck.

The men on four wheelers and Scherer in his pick up truck stopped their vehicles at a pull-off spot alongside the road where they exchanged words.

The men on four-wheelers, Bollinger testified, traveled further down the road and again stopped at a pull-off spot. Scherer pulled beside them in his truck.

Bollinger said Scherer’s truck door was ajar but not completely open and that Massie told him Scherer had talked about fighting him. That is when Massie allegedly pulled out a .25 handgun and shot Scherer, who then drove himself to Tipton’s Mini-Mart where he asked for help. Bollinger said Massie told him he threw the gun in a ditch. The gun was later found.

But during cross examination, Morford asked if Scherer had been also carrying a gun but might have thrown it out of his truck before he got to Tipton’s.

“Didn’t he say he saw Scherer reach for something in his seat?” Morford asked. Bollinger indicated he did not.

“Isn’t it true Mr. Scherer was known to carry a gun?” Morford asked Bollinger.

“I don’t know that to be a fact,” Bollinger replied.

“Do you know if Joey Scherer had a history of violence toward women?” Morford queried. Bollinger said he had no direct knowledge of it.

“Are you aware of any bad blood between the victim and the defendant in the past?” Morford asked.

Bollinger said had been told the two men had had conflicts in the past and that Scherer owed Massie money.

“Joey Scherer ran down my client, isn’t that true? He blocked his path,” Morford contended.

“I’m not sure if he blocked his path,” Bollinger said.

Morford said after the hearing Scherer “may have had something my client thought to be a weapon” and that Massie, an Iraq war veteran, suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The presence of a weapon could be the basis for a self-defense case, while PTSD could be used to further an NGRI claim.

Massie remains in the Lawrence County Jail under a $100,000 bond.