Stories written by Jo Ciavaglia, award-winning multimedia newspaper reporter at the Bucks County Courier Times in Bucks County, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pa.
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Monday, July 1, 2013
Bristol Twp. man to face trial for home invasion, stealing pregnant Yorkie
Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Skye remains missing since May 30
Even in her sleep, Tracy Forester testified that she sees the face of the Bristol Township man accused of holding a gun to her head and kicking her in the face last month.
“I saw that face right there,” she said on the witness stand Wednesday, motioning toward defendant Quincy Palmer. “A little baby face.”
Palmer’s attorney, Robert Katzenstein, said he believes Forester thinks his client broke into her apartment, assaulted her, and stole her pregnant Yorkshire terrier. But that doesn’t make it true, he added. Palmer has an alibi, Katzenstein added after the hearing. He declined to elaborate.
Following testimony from Forester and her two roommates, Bristol District Judge Frank Peranteau Sr. held Palmer, 21, of Winder Drive in Bristol Township, for trial on all charges. They included three newly added charges, including first-degree felony burglary. Palmer remains free after posting 10 percent of his $50,000 bail.
Bristol police say three men — at least two armed with guns — entered a home in the 300 block of Washington Street around 2 a.m. May 30 looking for money. Police haven’t identified the other two men involved in the home invasion and they have not found Skye, the missing Yorkie.
On the witness stand, roommate Mitchell Dambach testified that he was watching TV in his bedroom when a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt pointed a gun at his head and demanded money.
“ ‘What money? I said, I have $5 in my pocket,’” Dambach testified he told the gunman.
Palmer took the money, then ordered him to lay face down on the floor and put a blanket over his head.
Dambach estimated he stayed on the floor for about seven minutes, then ran to a neighbor’s apartment, where he called police.
The third roommate, Dambach’s girlfriend Jacqueline Crines, testified that she heard Forester screaming and peeked into the hallway, where she saw a tall young man in a hoodie with a gun banging on Forester’s bedroom door.
The gunman saw Crines, too, she said, and ordered her to turn around and sit on the living room couch, which is where Skye was sitting. The woman testified the gunman in the gray hoodie then asked her where the money was kept.
When Crines said she didn’t have any money, the man announced he was taking Skye and grabbed the dog, whose puppies were due earlier this month.
Forester, whose dog was taken, provided the day’s most dramatic testimony.
She said she was in her bedroom putting away clothes when she heard a noise at the front door and peeked into the hall. That’s when a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt — she says it was Palmer — put a gun against her head.
Forester said she jumped back into her bedroom, slammed and locked the door and yelled to her roommates that there was a man with a gun. When she didn’t hear any noise after a few minutes, she testified that she opened the door to check on her roommates.
As soon as she stepped out of the room, the gun was put against her head again, Forester testified. “I have nothing for you,” she screamed, then told the man to leave.
Instead, the gunman kicked her twice in the face and after she fell on the floor, he kicked her three more times, she testified. Eventually, Forester got up and ran to a back bathroom, where she locked the door and pounded on the ceiling to alert her neighbors to call police, she said.
“There was blood everywhere in my bathroom,” she added, ticking off a list of her injuries. The most serious were cracked and broken teeth that must be removed and replaced with false teeth.
Under cross-examination by Katzenstein, Forester said she didn’t know Palmer’s name the night of the incident, but she recognize d him as a friend of her daughter. She said she had met him several times before that night.
Jo Ciavaglia: 215-949-4181; email: jciavaglia@phillyBurbs.com; Twitter: @jociavaglia