Three people have been charged with misdemeanors in the aftermath of the death of Tonya M. Focht on June 19 in Lower Heidelberg Township, Pennsylvania.
Wayne “Mo” Ritchie, Sergeant at Arms for the Reading, Pennsylvania chapter of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club is charged with disorderly conduct as is IOMC Reading chapter member Timothy “Munch” Martin. Focht’s fiancé, Mark Groff, is charged with disorderly conduct and possession of brass knuckles.
Focht, a student at Alvernia University in Reading was punched in the face and run over by a car as the three men fought in the parking lot of a restaurant named the Bar-B-Q Pit on Penn Avenue in Lower Heidelberg Township. She was pronounced dead at the Reading Hospital and Medical Center. She left behind two children
The Berks County District Attorney’s Office and the Lower Heidelberg Police Department jointly issued a 900 word statement on their investigation into Focht’s death. That statement read in part:
“Mark Groff and Tonya Focht were the initial aggressors in a conflict that began in the patio area of the BBQ Pit. They did this without provocation and after requests from staff to go away. After Mark Groff and Tonya Focht began to physically assault people, the facts show that Timothy Martin and Wayne Ritchie went into the parking lot of the BBQ Pit where they and Mark Groff were mutually engaging in some kind of scuffle that ended up with the three of them in a pile-up between 2 parked cars.
“We learned from the facts that Mark Groff was wearing gloves with hardened knuckles while this occurred and that he had brass knuckles and a bull whip in his possession. The facts revealed that Timothy Martin and Wayne Ritchie decided to deal with Mark Groff’s aggressiveness by themselves rather than deferring to BBQ Pit staff or contacting the police.
“The facts also showed that Tonya Focht tried to assault a woman who was inside the BBQ Pit, but was prevented from doing so by BBQ Pit staff. Tonya Focht then attempted to aggressively join the three person pile up occurring between the two parked cars. She was moved away multiple times but continued to try to join the fight.
“The final time she fell back into the path of travel of a vehicle attempting to leave the BBQ Pit. Non-involved eyewitnesses all indicated that there was no way for the person that moved Tonya Focht to have intended to push her into the exiting vehicle or to have even realized the vehicle was there. The driver of that vehicle stopped and cooperated with investigators. The investigation determined that there was no way the driver could have seen or prevented Tonya Focht from hitting his exiting vehicle.
“The investigation also determined that there was no legal basis to file homicide charges. Homicide charges in a case such as this could only be based on someone showing criminal recklessness. Criminal recklessness is high standard involving more than a determination of who is at fault. It means someone choosing to engage in conduct where they knew or should have known that someone could die. While it appears that Tonya Focht’s death can be traced to the decision of her and Mark Groff to instigate this barroom brawl, we cannot find that Mark Groff knew or should have known that his poor decisions would result in Tonya Focht’s death. We also cannot find any criminal recklessness on the part of the person that rebuffed Tonya Focht away during an assault initiated by her and Mark Groff.
“We are also aware of the high degree of gossip and commentary about this case on social media. There is one rumor that we need to address: There were no off duty or on duty law enforcement personnel involved or present at the BBQ Pit during the events on June 19. This fact was acknowledged by Mark Groff when he participated in a video recorded statement with investigators.”