SMETHPORT -- Unlike some previous court appearances when he drew attention to himself by giggling and making crude remarks, confessed murderer Thomas Paul Haggie sat quietly Thursday and spoke only when questioned by Judge John Pavlock during a 65-minute hearing on a plea agreement.
But Haggie's mellow demeanor took a sudden turn for the worse as he was leaving the courtroom in shackles and handcuffs. Just outside the entrance to the courtroom, Haggie without provocation turned his head and spit directly into the right eye of Assistant Bradford Police Chief Mike Ward, who was standing nearby.
Ward rushed to a bathroom to douse his eye with water. Haggie was escorted from the courthouse and returned to the McKean County Jail, where he will await sentencing next month for the Bradford murder of a pregnant woman in September 2009.
Spitting on a police officer while a prisoner is reportedly a serious crime of assault. McKean County District Attorney Ray Learn said charges may be filed against Haggie even though Haggie won't be able to serve more time in prison for the spitting incident. Haggie is expected to be sentenced next month to two life terms in state prison without the possibility of parole.
For more on this story, see the Dec. 17 edition of The Daily Press.