Franklin man held for court on fleeing from police charge

A Franklin man was held for court Wednesday on a charge of flight to avoid apprehension, trial or punishment.

Scott Weaver, 35, appeared before district judge Matthew Kirtland for his preliminary hearing in Venango County Central Court in connection with a July 21 incident.

Assistant district attorney Brenda Servidio called Franklin city police patrolman Jacob Young to testify.

Young said he had responded around 9:40 p.m. that evening to a call from a woman who said her children’s father may have left them home alone. Young said he arrived at the Buffalo Street home to find three children, ages 10, 9 and 5, sitting on the front porch. They said they couldn’t find their father.

Young related that he looked through the house calling out for anyone who may be home and eventually found Weaver asleep in a third-floor bedroom.

“He appeared to be passed out,” said Young, who added that it took about a minute to wake Weaver up.

“He was kind of not with it,” Young said. “He was saying things that didn’t make sense.”

Young said Weaver first said that his children were sleeping but eventually admitted he didn’t know where they were.

Young said he told Weaver to wait inside while he went outside to speak with the children’s mother and other officers who had arrived on the scene.

When Young returned inside, he couldn’t find Weaver. He said that another officer saw Weaver through a window later that night and that the Venango County probation and parole office picked him up a few days later.

Weaver, who represented himself at Wednesday’s hearing, said he assumed he was free to leave with the understanding that the children were going home with their mother.

“In no way did I believe I was detained,” Weaver said. “As far as I knew, we were done talking.”

Young said that although Weaver hadn’t been arrested, he had been detained.

“I told you to wait somewhere and remain there until I got back,” Young said. “It’s an investigatory detention.”

Weaver testified that earlier that night, his children had fallen asleep while watching a movie and he went upstairs to smoke a cigarette and fell asleep there.

Weaver said that after speaking with police, he left out the back door of the house to go buy cigarettes and when he returned, no one was there.

“For the next couple of days, I went about life as normal,” Weaver said. “I was not a fugitive on the run. I went to work. There was nothing to flee that I was aware of.”

Kirtland ruled that the charge of flight to avoid apprehension, trial or punishment be bound over to the Court of Common Pleas. Kirtland dismissed charges of endangering the welfare of children.

“There was no testimony or evidence that he was incapable of caring for the children,” Kirtland said.

Servidio withdrew one charge of obstruction of the administration of law.

Weaver remains in the Venango County jail for a parole and probation violation.