Barnesville Gun Fight Trial Date Set March 1

One of the accused aggressors in an argument that culminated with an exchange of gunfire in Barnesville remains set for trial March 1. The defense is in the process of obtaining hospital records related to the case.

Mitchell Tristan Metzler, 32, of 12825 Battleridge Road, Cambridge, appeared for a status conference Monday before Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato. He is charged with one count of felonious assault with a gun and two counts of aggravated menacing, both of which allegedly occurred May 16. The firearm specification carries a mandatory sentence of three years consecutive to any other sentence if he is convicted.

The incident occurred on Franklin Street in Barnesville, at the home of Greg Sears. According to law enforcement, Sears and Metzler had been having a dispute for some time, allegedly because of a relationship between Metzler and Sears’ estranged wife, Chelsea Sears. During an incident earlier that night, the two allegedly had been involved in a physical altercation where Metzler had brandished a firearm. Investigators say Metzler returned later in the evening with his brother, Michael Smith.

Smith reportedly attacked Sears when he opened the door, but Sears had armed himself. according to reports. Sears shot Smith and Metzler allegedly fired his own gun into the Sears’ residence. Sears then apparently shot Metzler.

The two wounded men drove themselves to the hospital and were later flown by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital. A bullet reportedly was retrieved from the Sears residence. Prosecutor Dan Fry pointed out that the occupants of the house, including a juvenile, were placed in grave danger during the confrontation.

Smith has since been arraigned in Belmont County Western Division Court. He is charged with assault, and his next court appearance is scheduled for March 13.

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