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Case against man accused of shooting neighbor goes to trial

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 26 2014 05:00:10 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 26 2014 06:17:21 PM CST

A deadly dispute took center stage in a Schuylkill County courtroom Wednesday, as a man accused of killing his neighbor went before a judge.

WEST MAHANOY TWP., Pa. -

A deadly dispute took center stage in a Schuylkill County courtroom Wednesday, as a man accused of killing his neighbor went before a judge.

Police said Ronald Kozak, 66, fired a single bullet into the chest of his neighbor, Joseph Boris, 61, on January 18th.

Kozak and Boris lived next to each other on Indiana Avenue in West Mahanoy Township for 36 years.

Boris' wife took the stand Wednesday for Kozak's preliminary hearing.

According to her testimony, the two men butted heads frequently.

"Unfortunately, the conflict is what we hear about so much today, boundary dispute and a fence," said Schuylkill County District Attorney Christine Holman.

"A neighbor issue, which we are all too familiar with," said Frederick Fanelli, Kozak's attorney.

Boris recalled exiting her home on January 18th to find Kozak and her husband exchanging punches.

Boris said she saw her husband forcefully push Kozak out of their garage.

Moments later, she watched her husband throw a red brick.

"I'm confident we will able to prove that Mr. Kozak acted in self defense. As testimony elicited, he was hit in the head with a brick by Mr. Boris which ultimately led to this," Fanelli said.

"That really doesn't have much bearing on the fact that Mr. Boris was shot close, range by Mr. Kozak," Holman said.

Boris described hearing a loud pop--before her husband stumbled backward.

She said she turned to Kozak and saw a gun in his hand.

Officials say Boris died of a single bullet to the chest.

The judge ruled that there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

Kozak faces criminal homicide, aggravated assault, and other charges.