Cooksburg Man to Stand Trial for Armed Standoff

macbethBROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – A Cooksburg man involved in a shootout with Pa. State Police Troopers earlier this year will stand trial in January.

John M. MacBeth, 48, of Cooksburg, is scheduled to go on trial on January 19 on dozens of charges, including attempted homicide, involving a standoff and shootout with state troopers in Barnett Township.

Jury selection is set for January 9, according to Jefferson County Court officials.

According to a previously-published story on explorejeffersonpa.com, on Saturday, March 12 Trooper Kathleen Watters, of PSP Marienville, responded to Route 36 in Barnett Township for the report of a man with a gun.

A female relative of the suspect identified him as John M. MacBeth and said that “he had been drinking heavily the night before and that she was concerned about his welfare. Around 8:20 a.m., the known woman went to (MacBeth’s) residence in an attempt to talk to him….When he opened his door, he had a handgun in his right hand and was waving it around. (MacBeth) told the female to ‘(expletive) Off,’ and that he wasn’t going anywhere.”

The woman then left his residence and PSP Marienville was contacted. The woman reported there “was also an incident that occurred the night before between MacBeth and a known man (an employee of MacBeth’s Cabins),” the complaint stated.

The known man advised that “on March 11 around 6:20 p.m., he went to MacBeth’s house to tell him there were some guests in some of the cabins. The known man went up the stairs to (MacBeth’s) door, and when (MacBeth) opened the door, he pointed a handgun right at the known man. The known man said that “he and (MacBeth) are friends, and he could tell that (MacBeth) was under the influence of alcohol,” the complaint indicates.

Troopers from PSP Marienville attempted to make contact with MacBeth, and MacBeth refused to come out of the residence. At this point, Trooper Watters requested a warrant of arrest for MacBeth and a search warrant be issued for the property, the complaint continues.

The State Police Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) responded to the scene. At 4:30 p.m., after the SERT deployed tear gas into the residence, MacBeth began firing shots from a firearm at the SERT members. Between 4:30 p.m. and 5:09 p.m., MacBeth had fired a total of 30 shots at SERT members, according to the complaint.

Police exchanged gunfire with MacBeth several times over the course of the standoff, according to police.

MacBeth surrendered to police without incident around 10:20 a.m. Sunday, March 13.

Police say he was transported to a local hospital for medical evaluation and treatment of minor injuries.

A preliminary arraignment was held on Sunday, March 13, in front of Magisterial District Judge Gregory M. Bazylak.

Police filed two separate criminal complaints on MacBeth. In the first case, police filed two counts of Recklessly Endangering Another Person, a second degree misdemeanor.

Judge Bazylak set bail at $50,000.00 cash for the misdemeanor incident.

In the second incident stemming from the standoff, MacBeth was charged with the following offenses:

  • Criminal Attempt – Criminal Homicide, Felony 1 (30 counts)
  • Aggravated Assault, Felony 1 (30 counts)
  • Aggravated Assault, Felony 2 (60 counts)
  • Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2 (30 counts)

Bail was set at $500,000.00 cash.

Unable to post bail, MacBeth remains lodged in the Jefferson County Jail.


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