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Middletown native freed in Lycoming County after attempted homicide charge dismissed

WILLIAMSPORT — Attempted homicide and other charges have been dismissed against a man with ties to Dauphin County and he has been ordered released from jail.

In an opinion made public Monday, Lycoming County Judge Marc Lovecchio  ruled the continued detention of William Michael Blackwell would be illegal and improper.

William Blackwell 

Blackwell, 31, who was accused of firing three shots into a car near a Williamsport intersection last Oct. 29, wounding the driver, had contested the sufficiency of the evidence presented against him at his preliminary hearing.

Lovecchio noted that although the victim identified the shooter from a photo array, that person did not appear at the preliminary hearing and told city police he would not cooperate.

A warrant was issued for the victim’s arrest as a material witness but the individual has not been located, the judge noted.

District Judge Christian D. Frey held Blackwell for court over a defense objection that testimony at the preliminary hearing was hearsay.    

Although the opinion does not identify the victim, arrest documents state the driver of the car who was wounded was Antwan M. McClain.

McClain told police, a car cut him off and pulled alongside of him, according to the arrest affidavit.

When he saw the driver point a handgun at him, he said, he attempted to drive off, but three shots were fired one of which struck him in the left shoulder. He drove himself to Williamsport Regional Medical Center.

Blackwell was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, illegal possession of a firearm due to a conviction, possessing a firearm without a license, possession of an instrument of crime, propulsion of missiles into an occupied vehicle and recklessly endangering another person.

He was arrested in Philadelphia in February and had been held without bail since.

Blackwell is a native of Middletown but said at his arraignment he has lived in Williamsport most of his life.

Court documents state Middletown police in 2010 charged him with drugs and weapons counts, but those were dismissed after a pre-trial defense suppression motion was granted.

Blackwell has convictions in Lycoming County and was on parole at the time of the shooting in a 2011 assault by prisoner case.

First Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Osokow said the charges could be refiled if McClain is located but there could be a speedy trial issue.

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