Man held on lesser charges for New Year’s altercation

Staff writer

An Oil City man accused of aiming a firearm at another man during an altercation in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day was held for court Wednesday on lesser charges after an aggravated assault charge was withdrawn.

James Deemer, 54, appeared before district judge Matthew Kirtland for the preliminary hearing in Venango County Central Court.

Assistant District Attorney Justin Fleeger called the 27-year-old man who had engaged in the altercation with Deemer near Wyllis and West Fourth streets to testify.

The man said that around 2 a.m. Jan. 1, Deemer followed the man’s friend from the friend’s car across the street to the front yard of the man’s residence on Wyllis Street. The man said he asked Deemer several times who he was and what his problem was, but Deemer was “mumbling nonsense.”

The man said he told Deemer to leave his property, which Deemer eventually did, and the man went inside.

Deemer went over to the man’s friend’s car and began touching the rear of the vehicle, the man said.

The man said he left his home and walked over to confront Deemer when Deemer grabbed him and retrieved a pistol from near his hip.

Deemer pointed the gun in the man’s face, the man said, and he punched Deemer several times in the face.

The man’s friend came outside, and an altercation followed with the three of them, the man said. He then said the three of them ended up on the ground and Deemer chambered a single round and pointed the gun back at the man.

Deemer’s wife told him to come inside, and he told her to shut up and call the police, the man said.

Deemer’s attorney, Neil Rothschild, asked the man about the involvement of alcohol prior to the incident.

The man said he had five or six mixed drinks that night and added that he could smell alcohol on Deemer.

The man also said he had minimal prior contact with Deemer, and the two had never had any issues before the incident.

Kirtland ruled that misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person, simple assault, criminal trespass and terroristic threats and summary counts of disorderly conduct and public drunkenness be bound over for the Court of Common Pleas.

Deemer remains free after posting $10,000 bail.