CLEARFIELD – A local man is facing felony and misdemeanor charges following a recent domestic violence incident.
Ralph C. Best, 59, of Woodland was charged by Lawrence Township police with aggravated assault, burglary (two counts), criminal trespass and possession of firearm prohibited, all felonies, and related misdemeanor offenses.
Best waived his right to a preliminary hearing on most of the charges Wednesday during centralized court. The burglary and trespassing charges were withdrawn. Best’s bail was also reduced from $50,000 to $25,000 monetary.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, police were called to a report of a physical domestic altercation at 6:08 a.m. June 9 in the 400-block of 19th Street, Clearfield.
The caller told dispatch that Best had entered a female’s home and a domestic ensued. She said Best also had gotten a hold of a firearm and a round was discharged.
Upon arrival, police made contact with the caller as well as the victim. The caller said she had the firearm in her possession because it was given to her by the victim when she got there to help.
She turned over the North American Arms .22-caliber, five-shot revolver to Officer Zachary Cowan and he secured the firearm in a township police unit.
The victim told officers she was uninjured and only suffered a powder burn on her left index finger from the firearm going off.
She said she heard someone enter her home and soon after, Best came into the bedroom she was in. A domestic ensued and she said he was being “verbally aggressive.”
Best reportedly climbed atop of her on the bed and retrieved her firearm from its holster on her left hip. She said he put it against her left temple while he was yelling at her.
She said she heard a distinct click sound, which she thought was the hammer of the firearm being “cocked back.” She said she continually asked Best to give her gun back.
The victim said Best finally did give her the firearm and she had it in her left hand. However, she said he took both arms and kept her pinned against the bed. She said he held her there for sometime before reaching back up for her gun.
She said she didn’t want him to have the firearm so she kept a tight grip on it. At some point, she said it went off, Best told her that she’d shot him and he left the residence.
She said she followed him outside, asking to see his wound so she could help. However, she said he got into his pick-up truck that was parked nearby and drove away.
Because she was afraid, the victim said she ran to her friend’s home, told her what happened and a report was made to police. While waiting for officers to arrive, she said Best contacted her and asked that she not call police.
As part of the investigation, police photographed the bedroom. Though no bullet fragments were found, one pillow and blanket on the bed apparently had signs of bullet entry/exit, according to the affidavit.
Upon examination of the firearm, it was found it contained three .22 rounds within its drum; one rim-fired shell casing was also found within the drum, police said.
When the domestic occurred, two others were reportedly inside the victim’s residence, including her daughter.