Man pleads guilty in base­ball bat at­tack

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

NOR­RIS­TOWN » A New Hanover man awaits his fate from a judge af­ter he ad­mit­ted to break­ing into his ex-wife’s Up­per Fred­er­ick res­i­dence and us­ing a base­ball bat to strike a male guest at the home in the head.

Joseph Earl Gim­ber, 56, of the 2300 block of Lo­cust Lane, pleaded guilty in Mont­gomery County Court to felony charges of ag­gra­vated as­sault, pos­sess­ing an in­stru­ment of crime and bur­glary in con­nec­tion with a June 4, 2017, in­ci­dent at a Westview Drive res­i­dence in Up­per Fred­er­ick.

The open plea means Gim­ber has no deals with prose­cu­tors re­gard­ing his po­ten­tial sen­tence. Gim­ber faces a pos­si­ble max­i­mum sen­tence of 22½ to 45 years in prison on the charges when he’s

sen­tenced later this year by Judge Wendy G. Roth­stein. How­ever, state sen­tenc­ing guide­lines could al­low for a lesser sen­tence.

Be­fore sen­tenc­ing Gim­ber, Roth­stein or­dered that Gim­ber un­dergo drug, al­co­hol and men­tal health eval­u­a­tions. Gim­ber re­mains free on bail pend­ing sen­tenc­ing.

Un­der state law, by plead­ing guilty to ag­gra­vated as­sault, Gim­ber ad­mit­ted that he in­ten­tion­ally or reck­lessly caused se­ri­ous bod­ily in­jury to an­other per­son “un­der cir­cum­stances man­i­fest­ing ex­treme in­dif­fer­ence to the value of hu­man life.”

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan about 4:45 a.m. when state po­lice at Skip­pack were dis­patched to the Up­per Fred­er­ick home for a re­port of a do­mes­tic as­sault in progress. Gim­ber’s ex-wife re­ported Gim­ber “broke into the house and struck her friend over the head with a base­ball bat,” ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint filed by state po­lice Trooper Ja­son Hen­ley.

Gim­ber, po­lice al­leged, used a base­ball bat to smash a rear slid­ing glass door to gain ac­cess to the house. Gim­ber did not live at the res­i­dence and “had no right to be there,” Hen­ley al­leged.

Once in­side the home, Gim­ber walked up­stairs, en­coun­tered his ex-wife, shoved her out of the way and ap­proached the male vic­tim, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

“At that time, Gim­ber stuck (the vic­tim) over the head with an alu­minum base­ball bat be­fore leav­ing the res­i­dence,” Hen­ley al­leged in the ar­rest af­fi­davit.

Phys­i­cal ev­i­dence at the scene con­sisted of shat­tered glass pieces through­out the din­ing room, kitchen and liv­ing room, po­lice said.

“The en­tire glass slid­ing door was miss­ing, con­sis­tent with be­ing struck by a base­ball bat. Up­stairs where the as­sault took place, there was a large blood stain on the carpet in the door­way to the walk-in closet. There was also blood smeared on the side wall of the walk-in closet,” Hen­ley al­leged.

Po­lice said the vic­tim suf­fered a head in­jury and was trans­ported to a lo­cal hos­pi­tal for treat­ment. Court doc­u­ments did not pro­vide fur­ther de­tails about the in­jury.

Gim­ber’s ve­hi­cle, a four­door sil­ver truck, was lo­cated at an aban­doned house on Big Road just east of Simmons Road at a prop­erty marked with “No Tres­pass­ing” signs and he was lo­cated about 300 yards away on the wood line, po­lice al­leged.

“Gim­ber re­fused to obey com­mands and ran back into the woods,” Hen­ley al­leged, adding with the help of a K9 unit and a state po­lice he­li­copter Gim­ber was even­tu­ally found hid­ing in the woods. “Gim­ber again re­fused to lis­ten to com­mands and was ap­pre­hended af­ter an­other brief foot pur­suit.”

Other charges of sim­ple as­sault, crim­i­nal tres­pass, reck­lessly en­dan­ger­ing other per­sons, re­sist­ing ar­rest and dis­or­derly con­duct will be dis­missed against Gim­ber at sen­tenc­ing time in ex­change for his guilty plea to the felony of­fenses, court pa­pers in­di­cate.

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