CLEARFIELD – A Morrisdale man accused of firing gunshots at his step-son during a domestic dispute has entered a guilty plea.
In March Leslie Wayne Conklin, 61, was charged by Clearfield-based state police with a felony count of criminal attempt/criminal homicide; two felony counts of aggravated assault; and misdemeanor counts of strangulation, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
Conklin agreed to enter a guilty plea Friday, and his three-day trial, which was scheduled to begin Wednesday, Oct. 31, was cancelled, a court employee said.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, at approximately 8 a.m. March 13, Conklin’s step-son was leaving for work. His pick-up truck left its parking place and hit a car belonging to his mother and Conklin. It also hit their house.
Conklin sent numerous text-messages about the incident to his wife while she was at work. When she arrived home shortly after 4 p.m., he was still upset and “carrying on” about their car and house.
When the victim came home an hour later, he and his mother were discussing contacting insurance companies and the damages. She said Conklin came out of his room and made a few comments, but it wasn’t anything drastic.
However, Conklin came back out and began “saying stuff” to the victim. When he defended himself, an argument broke out between the two men.
Conklin grabbed the victim by the throat; he grabbed Conklin by the shoulders and shoved him. Conklin fell to the floor and when asked if he was OK, he told his wife he hit his head and had a headache. He went to his room.
The victim and his mother remained in the dinette area and continued talking. Conklin stepped out of his room and into the hallway; he began yelling at the victim again. The victim took a few steps toward him and the two argued.
When Conklin grabbed the victim by the throat for the second time, the victim “planted” him on the floor. Conklin’s wife believed her son might have given Conklin a “little shove,” but said she was behind him and didn’t see him hit Conklin.
She told the victim to get away and asked Conklin if he was OK. He said he hit his head and it hurt, but when she offered help, he screamed that he wanted to be left alone. She wanted to avoid further confrontation and retreated to the kitchen.
She told the victim she felt they should get out of the house because Conklin owned guns. She said the victim had already called the state police for Conklin choking him the first time.
The victim then made his way out to leave. She got her keys and went through the garage to her sports utility vehicle. She said that Conklin came out onto the porch and he had a .22 pistol.
She pulled out in the SUV and positioned it between Conklin and the victim. The victim was standing next to his pick-up truck.
Conklin reportedly fired two gunshots toward the victim. She said that he held the gun as though he would shoot again but then went back inside. The victim corroborated his mother’s account of the incident.
The victim said he could tell that Conklin was shooting at him and he didn’t believe any shots hit his truck. He also said he wasn’t injured when Conklin grabbed him by the throat, but the second time, it felt like he was being choked.
When a trooper transported Conklin to the Woodland barracks, he asked if he was going to jail. He commented that he couldn’t believe he’d lose his job over this incident.
He claimed the victim slammed him on the ground, and it prompted him to retrieve his gun for self-defense. He admitted to pointing the gun at the victim but said he never fired it.
At the barracks, Conklin was interviewed again and asked if his wife had any reason to lie. He said no and what she told troopers was probably the truth.