Judge stops plea hearing for Cogan Station man accused of kidnapping

May 10—SUNBURY — A Northumberland County judge abruptly stopped a no-contest plea hearing in a kidnapping case after a Cogan Station man said he did not understand what he was doing on Friday.

Byron Magargle, 73, of Beauty Road, was arrested in July after police said he kidnapped a woman, gagged her, tied her hands behind her back and feet together after punching her in the face several times.

Magargle appeared by video before President Judge Paige Rosini on Friday to plead no contest to charges of felony kidnapping and aggravated assault.

Rosini explained the hearing to Magargle but after asking him several questions, Magargle said he thought he was pleading to something else.

Magargle is represented by Williamsport attorney George Lepley, who told Rosini his client knew what was happening as the two spoke several times before the hearing. Magargle then told Rosini he would continue with his plea, but Rosini said she was stopping the hearing and bringing him to court for another plea hearing in person.

According to court documents, Watsontown police were dispatched to the area of Plum Alley in July following a call from an individual saying they heard someone screaming for help.

When police arrived they saw two males wrestling on the ground and immediately began to break up the fight, police said.

Officers discovered a female sitting on the ground near the fight with her hands tied behind her back, feet tied together and a winter hat pulled down over her head and face, police said. Police also found the alleged victim with a shoelace tied tightly around her neck and a red bandana used as a gag in her mouth.

Police attempted to take Margagle into custody, but he kept resisting, police said. Eventually, the man was placed in restraints.

At the time, police spoke to the alleged victim who told officers she recently filed court papers against the man and when she went outside to let her dog out she felt someone grab her by the neck and choke her, police said.

The woman said she was able to break free and when she turned around she saw it was Magargle, according to court documents.

The woman said Margargle then punched her several times in the face and dragged her across the yard to his truck, police said. The woman said she was in fear for her life when the man tied her hands behind her back, feet together and gagged her.

According to the plea deal, Magargle could face up to 35 years in state prison.

Northumberland County Assistant District Attorney Leslie Bryden is prosecuting the case.