LISBON - The Alliance man taken into custody the night Michael Fisher was shot to death in Knox Township is now facing a reckless homicide charge.
Frank Gorichky, 53, is accused of killing Fisher on July 2 at Gorichky's home on Kevin Drive, following a long day in which the two had reportedly been in several arguments.
The two were neighbors at the Country Squire Mobile Home Park and according to reports, had been long-time friends.
County Municipal Court Judge Mark Frost bound Gorichky's case over to county Common Pleas Court Friday after deeming him capable of reckless homicide, a third-degree felony. Gorichky was originally charged with first-degree murder.
Presenting information during the preliminary hearing, County Prosecutor Robert Herron said the men were not only neighbors but "good friends and drinking buddies" who had spent most of July 2 together delivering furniture and a refrigerator to Salem, in addition to drinking alcohol.
At some point during the day Fisher, 46, contacted a woman, Herron said.
The men then met her at a cook-out in Salem, drank more alcohol, and left for the mobile park about 45 minutes later, he added.
An argument ensued after Gorichky "got a little bit flirtatious" with the woman, Herron said, and the woman later left Fisher and went to Gorichky's mobile home.
"Mr. Fisher took exception to that, and a screaming match started. It lasted for some period of time, and in addition to yelling there was fisticuffs," Herron said.
Gorichky reportedly calmed Fisher down, and he and the woman returned to his trailer, leaving Fisher behind.
Fisher returned to the trailer several times throughout the evening, and at one point Gorichky locked the door to his home, although Fisher already had a key, Herron said.
"Frank Gorichky became aware that Mr. Fisher was standing outside of his trailer," he said, adding that at that time Gorichky allegedly took a 12-gauge shotgun from his bedroom, loaded it and returned to the front door, where he met Fisher, and another argument ensued.
Sometime during the argument Fisher was shot in the abdomen, resulting in a "massive, gaping wound." He fell down, with his body half-in the trailer and half-out, Herron said.
"Mr. Gorichky indicated in his interview several hours later Mr. Fisher had grabbed the shotgun and hit him in the face," he added.
He went on to say Gorichky did not have any facial injuries, and Sheriff's Detective Jeff Haugh confirmed this to be true.
Gorichky also did not seek medical treatment, Haugh said.
Herron said Gorichky also told Haugh that Fisher brought a shotgun to his house and beat him with the butt of it in his face and it discharged.
According to Haugh, Gorichky changed his story after Haugh said there were witnesses who said Fisher did not have a gun with him.
"I told him I believed he had the shotgun. He told me that wasn't true. I told him I had witnesses. He then admitted he went back to the bedroom, got the shotgun, loaded it, and as Mr. Fisher was letting himself in, he claims a struggle ensued and the gun went off," Haugh said.
Haugh then said he asked Gorichky during the interview the day after the shooting, "Why did you bring a gun to a fist fight?"
Gorichky reportedly told him he brought the gun to the door out of fear because he knew Fisher owned weapons.
But Haugh said when he checked Fisher's home all he found was a baseball bat and a folding knife.
Gorichky's attorney Jim Hartford, questioned why Haugh waited until the next day to check Fisher's home for weapons and also blasted him for performing what Haugh himself described as a "cursory" search of Gorichky's home the night of the shooting.
"You've got a crime scene, and you did a cursory search?" Hartford said.
Gorichky reportedly told Haugh during the interview on July 3 he had the 12-gauge for two years. Haugh described it as a single shot, broken barrel gun used mostly for deer hunting.
The broken barrel shotgun cannot be fired without being cocked and the trigger pulled, he explained.
The gun was lying next to Fisher's body when Haugh arrived, and Fisher had already been pronounced dead, he said.
EMS and other deputies were already on the scene, as Haugh was traveling from Wellsville, he added.
He said the body was lying in the doorway of the home. Haugh said he could tell the round that killed Fisher was fired at close-range.
Hartford asked Haugh if he had been told that Fisher pulled the barrel of the gun toward him during the argument and had even asked Gorichky during the exchange if he was willing to give up their friendship over a woman. Haugh said he had been told that.
Responding to another question by Hartford, Haugh admitted a neighbor reported overhearing a woman say, "Good, I'm glad he's dead," to which Gorichky responded, "No, that's not good."
Hartford argued several times during the hearing that Gorichky had calmed Fisher down more than once, but he kept returning to the home.
He said Gorichky did not have the intent to kill when he went to the door.
"In his statement, Frank Gorichky told you he never intended to shoot," Hartford asked Haugh. The detective confirmed Gorichky did say that.
"The defendant escalated what were a few punches to a shotgun wound," Herron said in his closing statements.
He went on to say Gorichky's account couldn't be trusted since he changed stories twice during the investigation, adding Gorichky shouldn't have even had a gun in his possession due to his criminal history, which includes a felony drug offense in 1990 that prevents him from having a firearm in his possession.
Hartford argued Gorichky has not been charged with that and has not been in trouble the last seven years. He suggested Gorichky be released from the county jail and a "reasonable" bond set.
Herron said Gorichky's history includes a burglary and violating a protection order.
After hearing the arguments, Frost said he believed there was probable cause to believe Gorichky committed reckless homicide.
With the case bound over to Common Pleas Court, Gorichky's bond was continued at $1 million.