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Former Reading police officer pleads to threat charges in Chester County

WEST CHESTER — A former City of Reading police officer appeared in Common Pleas Court Friday and pleaded guilty to a pair of charges connected with an incident in which he held a gun to the neck of his daughter’s boyfriend and indicated he would shoot him after he found the two of them outside his Chester County home after midnight, violating the rules that had been set for them.

Matthew James Troxell will serve a total of four years of court supervised probation as his sentence for the charges for terroristic threats and possession of an instrument of crime related to the encounter he had with the young man, who was visiting from Texas last summer after having met Troxell’s daughter through a church group.

Troxell, a tall man with a salt and pepper beard wearing a dark business suit and accompanied by family members, did not address Judge Sarah Black about the case or offer an apology to the young man, who did not appear at the proceeding.

His attorney, Adam Sodomsky of Reading, however, said the matter was “an unfortunate set of circumstances.

“Matt Troxell is a good man who loves his family,” Sodomsky said outside the courtroom after Troxell entered his pleas. “The events of that night produced a very sad result.”

According to the terms of the plea agreement that was negotiated by Sodomsky and Chief Deputy District Attorney Michelle Frei, while Troxell is on probation he is required to forfeit the handgun that was used in the incident, complete an anger management course, undergo a drug and alcohol assessment, and have no contact with the victim, Seth Miller.

Frei told Black that she had discussed the case with Miller and the investigating state trooper, Richard Whitehouse, and that they were satisfied with the outcome of the case. Miller still lives in Texas. “We don’t anticipate any further incidents,” Frei told the judge.

Troxell, 43, of Elverson was arrested in July by state police and charged with terroristic threats, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and possessing an instrument of crime. He was placed on leave by Reading police at the time and according to Frei has since been fired.

Troxell was off duty at the time of the incident, which occurred after an evening of drinking at his home, according to court papers. The alleged victim was not injured, but said he was “in fear for his life,” state police said.

According to the arrest affidavit by Whitehouse and Frei description of events:

State police received a report of an alleged threat by a Reading police officer by that department’s Office of Professional Standards on July 11.

Whitehouse then interviewed Troxell, his wife, his daughter, and the daughter’s boyfriend, Miller. All agreed on the basics of the encounter.

The daughter and her boyfriend had met on a family trip in Texas, and he had been invited to visit the Troxells in Pennsylvania. He arrived in late May or early June.

Troxell told the trooper that he had set strict sleeping arrangements for the two in separate rooms and that they were not to see each other past 12:30 a.m.

On June 5, Troxell and his wife had been drinking whiskey in their garage.

They went to bed around 2 a.m., but Troxell noticed the young man was not in his room and that his daughter was not in her room.

Thinking they may have been abducted or that the boyfriend had taken his daughter out of the house, he said he holstered his 9mm pistol and went looking for them.

He found the two lying on a trampoline outside the house.

According to statements from the pair, Troxell grabbed the boyfriend by his collar and pointed his gun at his neck, demanding to know what the two had been doing.

“You know what this is?” the boyfriend said Troxell asked him. “It’s a gun and it will kill you if you don’t leave right now.”

He told the investigator that he assumed the gun, a Glock semi-automatic pistol, was loaded. Tests showed that it was.

The boyfriend said he left, telling the others, “I’m not going to get shot over this.”

The daughter eventually went to get him and brought him back to the house, saying the situation would be resolved.

Her mother apologized later, and Troxell later told him it was “water under the bridge.”

Troxell admitted confronting the boyfriend with his gun but said he did not remember making threats.

To contact staff writer Michael P. Rellahan call 610-696-1544.

Source: Berkshire mont

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