Stringer suspect bound for court on unrelated charges

The man accused in the beating death of Tyrone’s Neptune Fire Company Chief Ray Stringer was in a Cambria County district court again earlier this week for a preliminary hearing on unrelated charges.
George Lightcap of Nanty Glo was arraigned earlier this month on charges related to a late July domestic incident. He was charged with simple assault, criminal trespass and criminal mischief stemming from a July 28 domestic case.
Earlier this month, his attorney said a preliminary hearing was continued until this past Monday at the request of prosecutors. Attorney Robert Gleason said prosecutors where still in the process of gathering witnesses. Bail in the domestic case was set at $10,000 unsecured.
After his Sept. 12 arraignment on the unrelated domestic charges, a preliminary hearing regarding charges in Stringer’s death was scheduled for October 6 at 1 p.m.
Lightcap is accused of beating the longtime fire chief during an altercation that happened at the Nanty Glo VFW in the early morning hours of Aug. 19. According to the affidavit of probable cause obtained by The Daily Herald, Stringer was lying on a floor in the foyer area of the VFW when Nanty Glo Borough Police arrived on the scene at 1:18 a.m. Emergency medical personnel were already at the scene treating Stringer when police arrived. The investigating officer said he observed a large amount of blood on and around the man on the floor.
The Nanty Glo police interviewed several witnesses outside that were in the vicinity of the VFW at the time of the incident. The witnesses gave a description of the man and said he ran from the VFW.
The criminal complaint said Lightcap’s sister, Michele, indicated she had ordered Stringer to leave the bar. She said her brother had verbal exchanges with Stringer prior to the incident. When Stringer went to leave the bar, he struck Lightcap.
The Nanty Glo man then followed Stringer into the foyer of the bar, where according to the affidavit, he allegedly struck Stringer repeatedly on or about the face while the victim was on the ground.
Stringer was airlifted by helicopter to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center and died there a little more than an hour after the initial call to 9-1-1.
Lightcap was taken into custody later on the morning of the incident. He was given his rights and told he was being arrested for criminal homicide. Police said Lightcap made statements, which included, “I can’t believe that I am in handcuffs right now when I’m not the one who started this. Look at my face.”
During a press conference on the day of the incident, an assistant Cambria County district attorney indicated Lightcap had also been injured as a result of the incident. Other than the accused’s comments and the report he had been struck by Stringer, Lightcap’s injuries or the extent of his treatment are not explained in the criminal complaint.
The Cambria County Coroner, Dennis Kwiatkowski, ruled that Stringer died from asphyxiation by blunt force trauma.
Stringer had been in Nanty Glo as a delegate at an annual firefighter’s convention. The incident occurred away from the convention activities, according to event officials. Chief Stringer was laid to rest and received fireman’s procession honors after funeral services on Aug. 23.
After his arrest in Stringer’s death, Lightcap’s preliminary hearing was delayed while he sought private council. Attorneys Arthur McQuillan and Gleason, both of Johnstown were eventually hired to represent the 29-year-old man.
Earlier this month, Gleason explained both the defense and Cambria County prosecutors were waiting for the results of “autopsy protocol and other medical information” as the reason for the delay in his preliminary hearing. Shortly after Gleason’s comments, Magisterial District Judge Mary Ann Zanghi’s office released information announcing the Oct. 6 date.
Lightcap is being held without bail on homicide and aggravated assault charges in the Cambria County Prison.