October 4, 2013

Suspect in 2010 Chester fatal shooting accused in domestic assault

A father charged three years ago in a fatal shooting in the breezeway of a Chester hospital was accused this week of hitting his child’s mother with his fists and a car seat, deputies say.

A father charged three years ago in a fatal shooting in the breezeway of a Chester hospital was accused this week of hitting his child’s mother with his fists and a car seat, deputies say.

William Jo-Pierre Graham – who faces murder and weapons charges stemming from the 2010 shooting that started at the Studio 72 club, spilled over to Chester Regional Medical Center and resulted in the deaths of two men – is being held at the York County Detention Center without bond after deputies arrested him on Tuesday.

At about 1 p.m., deputies were sent to a Turkey Farm Road home in Rock Hill after receiving word about an assault and shots fired, according to a York County Sheriff’s report.

When officers arrived, Graham answered the door, telling them “nothing was going on” and his children were inside, the report states. Police detained two other men inside the house, while Graham, 24, told them he and the 23-year-old mother of his child were arguing.

The argument became physical, Graham told police. Graham told deputies he pushed the woman into her car, but he was unsure who hit who first. He also told officers he threw a car seat at the woman.

As officers spoke with Graham, another deputy stayed inside the house with the children, the report states. One of the children told the officer that Graham threw a gun out the back door.

The child pointed to a wheelbarrow on the back patio and told the officer that the gun was inside, the report states. Deputies found the pistol underneath a trash bag. It had been stolen from Chester County.

The children’s mother told police she and Graham began arguing when he hit her several times, the report states. Another woman told deputies that while Graham and the mother fought, she tried to get out the car. She told officers Graham pushed her into the car and the passenger door hit her left leg.

Deputies arrested Graham, charging him with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, possession of a stolen pistol and possession of marijuana.

In September 2010, Graham was charged with murder, possession of a stolen pistol and possession of a weapon during a violent crime after Chester authorities say he was involved in a shooting that began at the Studio 72 nightclub when two groups confronted each other on the dance floor.

Those involved were kicked out of the club, but not before three people were injured when shots went off. A fight started outside the club, where more shots were fired.

The scuffle moved again, this time to Chester Regional Medical Center, where Derek Chalk was fatally shot in the emergency room breezeway while trying to help his cousin inside.

Three days later, deputies charged Graham with murder, accusing him in Chalk’s slaying. He turned himself in to authorities a week after the shooting.

Graham was released from jail on a $20,000 bond on the condition that he wear an electronic monitoring device and be confined to his parents’ home, according to court documents. He was registered with Rock Hill’s ICU Alcohol/Electronic/Satellite Monitoring Service, owned and operated by bail bondsman Ned Polk.

Polk on Friday said Graham did not often give his monitoring agents trouble, although he had been cited several times for allowing his GPS battery to get too low on power.

After learning of Graham’s arrest, Polk said his assistant went to the York County Detention Center and removed the suspect’s ankle bracelet. Polk said he noted Graham’s charges as a violation of his bond conditions and faxed paperwork to the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, the Chester County Clerk of Court and Graham’s lawyer, Columbia criminal defense attorney Jack Swerling.

Swerling confirmed that he received word of Graham’s arrest but did not know the circumstances surrounding his client’s charges.

“I don’t know much about the case; I don’t know what the allegations are,” Swerling said. “I don’t think it necessarily has an impact” on Graham’s pending murder case.

“One does not have anything to do with the other,” he said. “I don’t think they’re related at all.”

Graham maintains his innocence in the 2010 shooting, said Swerling, who would not elaborate on what Graham says happened that night.

Swerling said, to his knowledge, Graham was still living with his parents per court orders. Graham is tentatively set to go to trial in early 2014, Swerling said.

Prosecutors are collecting information about Graham’s latest arrest to evaluate how it will impact the impending murder trial, said Sixth Circuit Solicitor Doug Barfield. He said the new charges can potentially affect Graham’s bond status. Possible bond modification or bond revocation hearings have not been scheduled.

Keith Kenner, the second of two suspects accused in the fatal 2010 shooting, last year pleaded guilty to firing the bullets that killed Antonio “Jack” Price after the fight spilled over into the club parking lot, Barfield said.

Graham’s case has lingered for three years because prosecutors have been preparing it for trial while dealing with the influx of homicides in the circuit, Barfield said.

Since the 2010 shootings at the club and hospital, eight more homicides were reported in Chester County. Lancaster County, also covered by Barfield’s office, has seen more than 20 homicides since the 2010 shooting.

Cases for the other four suspects charged in the shootings are still pending, he said.

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