Coroner identifies Bucks homicide victim; ex-Macungie man arrested – Allentown Morning Call

A Green Lane man shot another man to death Friday night in Richland Township and, confronted by officers, acted as if he didn’t know he had left the man’s body on a nearby driveway, police said.

Nicholas C. Kovatto, 37, formerly of Macungie, was charged late Friday with criminal homicide in the death of Eric R. Kramer, 32, whose hometown was not known.

Kramer suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the head, Bucks County Coroner Joseph Campbell said Saturday, adding an autopsy is scheduled for Sunday.

Richland Township police were dispatched to 160 Richlandtown Pike, just north of Quakertown, at 6:40 p.m. after a witness called Bucks County Police Radio to report that Kovatto shot the man after an argument and a scuffle, authorities said.

“[The witness] heard approximately three loud bangs and turned around to see Kovatto standing over [Kramer] with a gun pointed downward at him,” according to the police arrest affidavit, which has the names of the witness and victim blacked out.

“[The witness] watched as Kovatto fired one shot into [Kramer’s] head,” the affidavit continues. “[The witness] fled the area on foot and made several calls for assistance and for transportation out of the area.”

On Saturday morning, police tape circled the home as investigators began processing the scene.

The next-door neighbor said he and his wife were preparing to go out for the night when the shooting occurred. Dave Gerhart said he was in the shower and did not hear gunshots. When he looked outside, “what I saw was just a bunch of police out front and a bunch of lights out back,” Gerhart said.

He called the shooting distressing.

Kovatto has a criminal record in Lehigh County, where he was convicted in 2004 of attempted burglary and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault in a plot to punish an Allentown man who had stolen his pistol.

In sentencing Kovatto to one-to-two years in county jail, rather than the two-to-five years in state prison requested by the prosecution, Lehigh County Judge Robert Steinberg said on Dec. 1, 2004, “I may be making a mistake.”

On Friday night, when Richland Township police arrived at 160 Richlandtown Pike, they found Kovatto sitting at a bar inside a small building at the rear of the property, the affidavit says.

“Kovatto asked the officers why they were on the property,” the affidavit says. “Kovatto was uncooperative with officers at the scene and was detained while the officers investigated the shooting report.”

Within 10 minutes, officers found the dead man between the two vehicles parked in a driveway. He had been shot in the head through his baseball cap, police said.

The witness said he was with Kovatto in a shed at 6 p.m. when he heard a vehicle pull up and looked out to see the victim in the vehicle, according to the affidavit.

The witness went back to his shed, but Kovatto ran out to the victim and “immediately engaged in a physical altercation with” him, the affidavit says. That’s when the witness heard shots fired, according to the affidavit.

Kovatto was arraigned Friday night by District Judge Daniel J. Finello Jr. and sent to Bucks County Prison without bail.

fwarner@mcall.com

610-820-6508

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