Last updated: February 12. 2014 10:34PM - 936 Views
By - rdupuis@timesleader.com

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WILKES-BARRE — A Luzerne County jury on Wednesday acquitted a Hazle Township man on four out of five charges in connection with an April incident in which he was accused of brandishing a shotgun at his niece during a fight about her dog.

Jurors did, however, find Marvin Heck guilty on one count of cruelty to animals.

According to a police affidavit, state police were dispatched to the 200 block of Hope Street, Hazle Township, on the afternoon of April 15 after receiving a complaint from Stacy Heck, who lives on the opposite side of a double-block home from her uncle.

Stacy Heck told troopers that Marvin Heck was arguing with her about her pit bull relieving itself on his side of the yard. When the dog entered the common front porch, Marvin Heck kicked the animal, his niece told state police.

Their argument escalated, according to the affidavit, and Marvin Heck punched his niece in the face. Stacy Heck then picked up “a small piece of wood” to defend herself, she told troopers, and her uncle allegedly responded by fetching a 12-gauge shotgun from inside the apartment and pointing it at her face, Stacy Heck said.

The woman told troopers her uncle swore at her, and said, “I’ve been waiting to put you out of your misery.”

State Police at Hazleton charged Marvin Heck with terroristic threats, two counts of simple assault and one count each of cruelty to animals and harassment.

Marvin Heck’s trial began Tuesday afternoon before county Judge Fred Pierantoni. Jurors deliberated for an hour-and-a-half Wednesday afternoon before finding him not guilty on all but the animal cruelty charge. For that, he will be required to pay a $100 fine plus costs.

Heck’s gun will be returned to him, court documents say.

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