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A feud between two methamphetamine makers led to a fatal shootout in February at a rural Hunlock Township home that operated as a meth lab, state police at Wyoming said.

Masked and armed with a gun, drug dealer Robert Muntz came looking for his handwritten methamphetamine recipe and was gunned down by the girlfriend of his rival who had the “cookbook” stored under a mattress.

The home invasion and shootout at 59 Old Tavern Road prompted a lengthy and complex investigation that resulted in criminal charges against nine people Monday, including the woman who fired the fatal bullet, Amanda Bowman, authorities said.

While she faces a host of drug charges, Bowman – who was shot in the arm by Muntz – will not face charges in the shooting because it was an act of justifiable homicide to fend off Muntz’s armed attack, Luzerne County District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll said.

In arrest papers filed, state police document eyewitness accounts of the shooting, the plot behind the home invasion and the living environment at the country home where five people lived and methamphetamine was made daily.

Police said two couples – including Bowman, 29, and her boyfriend, Jeffrey Laton, 40 – lived at the rental property with the lease holder, Dave Kalbach, 38.

Laton was Muntz’s rival and who Muntz came looking for on Feb. 8, state police said.

During questioning by state police, Kalbach acknowledged Laton cooked methamphetamine nearly every day. Laton stayed there rent free in exchange for beer, hoagies and a line of meth every other day, Kalbach told investigators.

Kalbach’s friends Denyse Sedorchuk, 35, and her husband, Rodney Jones, 44, had been living at the home for about two weeks. While they claimed to know little about the drug operation, Kalbach told police they were aware of it and used meth during the frequent house parties.

When police interviewed Laton, he admitted to the methamphetamine operations and described the shootout.

He also helped police track down Muntz’s two alleged accomplices, one of which was Muntz’s girlfriend.

Laton told police he and Muntz disliked each other. He called Muntz a “bully.” Laton said he knew Muntz, 44, was coming after him for a “cookbook” containing handwritten notes of Muntz’s methamphetamine recipe, which Muntz referred to as the “holy grail.” Muntz had left the book in a camper that he previously dropped off at the home of Laton’s then-girlfriend as a gift, Laton said. Laton said he took the book and donated the camper to a homeless person while Muntz was in jail. Investigators recovered the book under the mattress of Laton’s bed.

Laton said he was sleeping when Muntz appeared at his bedside, pointing a gun at his face. As they struggled over the weapon, Bowman retrieved a gun and retreated to a closet. Muntz fired at Bowman, striking her in the arm. Bowman returned fire, fatally striking Muntz in the head.

Other witnesses – Sedorchuk and Michael J. Pawlowski, a friend of the group who spent the night – noted a male and female had also entered the home after Muntz kicked open the door. The male kept them at bay with a baseball bat, they said.

Laton told police he went to the door and saw the two other intruders fleeing. He recognized the female as Theresa Daniels, the daughter of his ex-girlfriend and Muntz’s girlfriend. Police later identified the male as David Rausch.

Daniels, 23, and Rausch, 17, both of Hanover Village, Hanover Township, told police they were accompanying Muntz from his Sweet Valley home to a job site in Wilkes-Barre when they drove past Laton’s home and noticed Laton’s vehicle. Muntz said he wanted to confront Laton about property Laton stole, which included work ladders, tools and the camper. They said they fled after hearing gunshots and seeing Laton emerge.

Daniels told police Muntz was known to carry the gun of his ex-wife, Autumn. Police said the gun found next to Muntz’s body had been reported stolen in November 2008 by Autumn Muntz.

Daniels and Rausch face more than 30 counts each of charges that include aggravated assault, attempted robbery, burglary, and trespassing. Daniels faces an additional charge of corruption of minors.

Police also investigated the gun used by Bowman to shoot Muntz. Bowman said she bought the gun from a guy named “Jerry” who “needed money.” An investigation determined the gun was originally purchased by Jerry Drumm, 54, of Sweet Valley. Drumm told police he is friends with Kalpach and went to his house a few weeks before the incident looking to sell the gun. He said he gave it to a woman who was living there “to try it out to see if she liked it.” Drumm was charged with illegal sale or transfer of a firearm.

Bowman, Laton, Sedorchuk, Jones, and Kalbach each face multiple charges related to the operation of the methamphetamine lab, including risking a catastrophe. Pawlowski, 41, of Mountain Top, faces a single charge of conspiracy.

Around 1 p.m. on Monday, state police at Shickshinny conducted a warrant sweep to nab the suspects. All the defendants were arraigned before Magisterial District Judge John Hasay in Shickshinny and jailed in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.

Trooper Tom Kelly, spokesman for state police at Wyoming, said the arrests were the result of a lengthy investigation that expanded as police continued to investigate the initial shooting.

“Once it was realized it was a meth house, there was more to the story then just a random home invasion. There was a specific intent to go there. All these arrests came as a result of that,” Kelly said. “They’re all friends in a roundabout way … they’re all connected.”

bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2055

Those charged Monday in connection with the Feb. 8 shooting at a methamphetamine lab at 59 Old Tavern Road in Hunlock Township include:

Amanda Bowman, 29, occupant of home

Theresa Daniels, 23, of Hanover Village, Hanover Township

Jerry Drumm, 54, of Sweet Valley

Rodney Jones, 44, occupant of home

David Kalbach, 38, renter of home

Jeffrey T. Laton, 40, occupant of home

Michael Pawlowski, 41, of Mountain Top

David Rausch, 17, of Hanover Village, Hanover Township

Denise Sedorchuk, 35, occupant of home

Bowman, Laton, Sedorchuk, Jones, and Kalbach each face multiple charges related to the operation of the methamphetamine lab. Pawlowski faces a single charge of conspiracy.

Daniels and Rausch face more than 30 counts each of charges that include aggravated assault, attempted robbery, burglary, and trespassing in connection with the home invasion. Daniels faces an additional charge of corruption of minors.

Drumm is charged with the illegal transfer of the gun used to kill Robert Muntz.

http://citizensvoice.com/news/nine-face-charges-in-hunlock-township-meth-probe-1.1151317#axzz1NN4ZivRi

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