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New problem for man accused of ordering ‘hit’

November 3, 2013
By JO ANN BOBBY-GILBERT - Staff Writer ( , Morning Journal News

ST. CLAIR TOWNSHIP- A Sprucevale Road man accused of trying to hire a "hit man" of sorts has had his bond revoked after allegedly threatening to kill the person who told police of his plan and also the law enforcement officer who posed as the potential hit man in an undercover operation.

According to a Beaver County, Pa., sheriff's deputy, the bond of Gregory S. Travis, 50, was revoked Oct. 17 and he was picked up in Beaver County and returned to jail Oct. 21.

The deputy said records as of this week did not show Travis still incarcerated, but a family member of Travis' wife, Denise Travis, said Friday he is, in fact, behind bars after being taken into custody at his parole officers' office.

Travis had been out of jail since Sept. 24 after his wife posted 10 percent of his $20,000 bond, which had been reduced from the $100,000 amount originally set during a June 25 hearing in Beaver County (Pa.) Magistrate Court.

Travis was charged June 17 by Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) after allegedly telling a stranger he "needed somebody taken out."

The stranger called Midland Borough Police to report the conversation, resulting in state Trooper Joshua Thomas posing as someone interested in taking Travis up on his proposal.

After reportedly telling Thomas he would pay $1,000 for him to incapacitate, but not kill, a relative of his wife, Travis was arrested as he left the restaurant where they were meeting.

He was charged with two counts of criminal solicitation-aggravated assault; criminal solicitation - simple assault; criminal use of communication facility; recklessly endangering another person; resisting arrest; retaliation against a witness or victim; criminal attempt-aggravated assault; and aggravated assault.

According to reports by St. Clair Township Police on Oct. 16 and 17, Travis' wife reported her husband was drinking while out on bond and told her he knew where Trooper Thomas eats at least three days each week and that he planned to kill him then kill himself. He also reportedly told her he planned to "take out the guy who snitched on him."

Travis allegedly told his wife he was going to where Thomas eats, "put three rounds in his chest and is going to tell Trooper Thomas that his mother will have to have a closed casket and then shoot him in the face."

Due to the nature of this conversation, township police contacted the PSP to report Travis' comments, as did Mrs. Travis, according to the report.

The officer reported that Mrs. Travis was in fear for her life because her husband had regressed so much compared to where he was last year and that, while he had never abused her in the past, she feared he is now capable of doing so.

In an Oct. 17 application, the bonding agent requested Travis' bail be revoked because "he has made threats toward witness, police and victim." The request was granted Oct. 18 by Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Mancini.

During Travis' June court appearance, his attorney Steve Valsamidis said his client was "very scared," had never been in trouble and was "very upset," realizing the seriousness of the charges and that they could mean "serious time (in jail)."

On Oct. 10, Valsamidis filed a motion to withdraw as Travis' attorney, which was granted. According to the family member, Travis does not yet have another attorney.

Trial in the case has been set for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 12 before Judge Mancini.



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