A man was charged Friday with homicide regarding the death of a 16-year-old boy who was beaten at Elizabethtown Borough Park on Aug. 6.
Elizabethtown police charged 24-year-old David M. Skalla for punching Blake Shearer several times after Skalla confronted the boy about loud music being played at the East Washington Street park.
Skalla, of Elizabethtown, is in custody regarding a parole/probation matter. He will be arraigned at a later date on counts of homicide and aggravated assault. He is presumed innocent.
Multiple witnesses to the incident reported Skalla being the only one to throw punches, escalating the verbal altercation to a physical attack.
Shearer was struck four times in the face and head and eventually fell to the ground.
Shearer was being treated this week at Hershey Medical Center for head and brain injuries. He died there Friday about 2:20 p.m.
After the assault, Skalla left the park with his family in a vehicle which was photographed by a witness. That photograph led police to the vehicle, owned by Skalla’s girlfriend. Police contacted her and Skalla.
According to information gathered by police, Skalla told his girlfriend that he “blacked out” during the incident.
Elizabethtown police Detective Dustin Ryan filed charges, which were approved by Assistant District Attorney Andrew LeFever.
An Elizabethtown woman is charged with killing her infant daughter, who was found unresponsive last month at her home.
Elizabethtown police on Monday charged 23-year-old Candace Parrow with homicide, aggravated assault and strangulation regarding the July 16 death of the 4-month-old girl.
Parrow was arrested at her home Monday afternoon. She was arraigned by District Judge Robert Herman.
Anyone charged with homicide in Pennsylvania is not eligible for bail. Parrow is presumed innocent.
Following autopsy, the child’s death was ruled a homicide caused by strangulation and suffocation.
Police determined Parrow had sole custody of the child at her East Orange Street apartment on the evening of July 16. The child appeared healthy earlier in the evening.
Here is a narrative of the incident and events before and after:
Police responded to the apartment just after 10 p.m. and found the child unresponsive, discolored and beyond help.
The child was transported to Hershey Medical Center where she was pronounced dead about an hour later.
At the apartment, Parrow was very distraught and made statements about being “blamed again for this.” Police determined Parrow had a previous child who died out of state.
A neighbor was also at the apartment when police arrived. Parrow summoned her to come over after telling her the child was dead.
The child’s father, Parrow’s paramour, was at work from 2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., when he left work after being notified of the incident. The paramour’s supervisor, and his time card, confirmed he was at work in that timespan, meaning Parrow was home alone with the child.
The paramour told police he had a FaceTime conversation with Parrow, about 8:30 p.m., and the child appeared healthy, as she did before he left for work.
Parrow told police that she put the child down to sleep, went to another room to do dishes and returned, about 10 minutes later, to find the child unresponsive.
An investigation revealed Parrow did not wash dishes – there were few dishes at the home and those found were dirty.
Also, Parrow’s version of what took place changed during separate interviews.
The paramour mentioned Parrow had previous issues with the child crying and Parrow would become very upset.
Elizabethtown police Detective Dustin Ryan filed charges, which were approved by Assistant District Attorney Karen Mansfield.
A Lancaster man who caused a multi-vehicle crash last year that tipped a school bus carrying 14 students will serve up to 20 years in prison.
Lancaster County Judge Howard Knisely sentenced James P. Irvin III, 48, to 5 to 20 years in prison regarding his conviction on 68 charges from the May 17, 2017, crash on Route 30 in East Lampeter Township.
Judge Knisely said Irvin showed “no regard” for anyone on the road when he drove 71 mph, while accelerating, during an illegal pass which caused the chain-reaction crash that led to a bus with Lancaster Mennonite School students tipping onto its side.
Judge Knisely pointed to Irvin’s poor driving record since 1988 and scolded Irvin for driving without a license since 2006 – driving 400 miles a week in recent years.
As part of sentence, Irvin is prohibited from driving during the period of supervision.
All students and the bus driver received medical treatment. Irvin fled in a white Chevy Malibu; he was arrested six days later.
Parents of the two children most seriously injured expressed forgiveness for Irvin at Friday’s hearing – one father offered to visit Irvin in prison to discuss the grace of God.
Irvin “must seek forgiveness to get it,” Don Cairns said, after describing the fractured vertebrae and other injuries his son sustained.
Sheri Weaver, mother of the 6-year-old boy most seriously hurt in the crash, said her son has taken steps in recovery, but she must apply lotion daily to the boy’s many scars.
When people see the boy’s apparent scar on his face, “the bubbly extrovert” becomes shy, Sheri Weaver said.
“We don’t hate him,” Sheri Weaver said of Irvin. “We will pray for him.”
The parents thanked the first-responders who rushed to the scene and a truck driver who quickly acted in using his jack to pry the bus off the 6-year-old boy, who was pinned underneath.
Irvin was convicted in May at a non-jury trial before Judge Knisely of 68 charges, including counts of aggravated assault and hit-and-run. Assistant District Attorneys Travis S. Anderson and Trista Boyd presented testimony, including from East Lampeter Township police Sgt. Bryan Kondras, lead investigator.
Irvin offered an apology Friday, saying, “I wasn’t raised to end up here.”
“I know I made a lot of mistakes,” he added. “I really don’t have any excuse.”
Irvin’s father also spoke, and started discussing his son’s lack of malice in the crash – before Judge Knisely intervened.
“There is malice,” the judge said sternly. “Malice has been established, as a result of trial.”
Later in the hearing, Judge Knisely peered at Irvin’s family while discussing Irvin’s lack of a license yet continuance to drive with a car registered to and insured by the parents.
Before Judge Knisely ordered sentence, Assistant District Attorney Boyd pointed to Irvin’s “repeated selfish and reckless actions” which caused the crash.
Boyd said Irvin has shown no remorse, which the judge agreed with.
Boyd asked for a sentence that serves as a deterrent not only to Irvin, but to all reckless drivers.
In an eloquent statement from a parent who had three daughters on the bus that day, Assistant District Attorney Anderson read: “This is not an event you want your child to experience, and now become a piece of their history.”
A Lancaster man will serve up to 12 years in prison for firing a gun while robbing a man last year on a city street.
Elias R. Brown, 21, pleaded guilty in May to felony counts of robbery, aggravated assault and possessing a firearm without a license regarding the Sept. 14, 2017, incident in the 100 block of South Christian Street.
On Monday, Lancaster County President Judge Dennis Reinaker sentenced Brown to 6 to 12 years in prison.
Brown and two juveniles, also charged, robbed the victim, taking Timberland boots, cash, and a jean jacket, according to Assistant District Attorney Travis S. Anderson, lead prosecutor.
During the robbery, Brown fired five rounds from a .40-caliber Glock pistol. No one was struck.
President Judge Reinaker, while ordering sentence, said it was Brown who held the gun and presented the biggest threat to the victim’s safety.
Lancaster city police Detective Robert Whiteford filed charges.
(In photos: Weeple, left, and Donohue. Donohue also in black-and-white photo.)
Police are still seeking one of two men involved in a home-invasion robbery in Manheim where a couple were threatened at gunpoint and one was struck with a baseball bat.
Manheim Borough police, through investigation, charged:
Nathan J. Weeple, 30, of Heisey Avenue, Elizabethtown
Mark E. Donohue, 50, of West Main Street, Mount Joy
Both men are charged with numerous offenses, including felony robbery, burglary and aggravated assault regarding the late-night home-invasion on July 5 at an apartment in the 100 block of North Main Street, Manheim.
Both men have prior convictions that prevent them from legally possessing firearms.
Donohue turned himself in to a parole officer Tuesday evening.
Anyone with information about Weeple is asked to contact Manheim Borough police Detective Jeffrey Kiesel at 717-665-2481, or submit tips via this CrimeWatch page or related Facebook post.
The incident happened this way:
Two occupants, a man and woman, reported that two intruders entered their apartment by breaking a window.
Weeple was wearing an “Anonymous/Guy Fawkes” mask, which came off during a scuffle in the apartment. The victims knew him by appearance. The mask was recovered by police.
Weeple struck the male occupant in the head with a baseball bat, requiring hospitalization and stitches.
Donohue was not wearing a mask and brandished a gun during the robbery. He directed the female occupant, at gunpoint, to two safes in the home. Two rifles and about $10,000 was taken.
Donohue was identified by the victims via photos he posted on Facebook. Also, surveillance video captured a vehicle involved in the robbery – it was registered to Donohue.
The video footage shows two individuals, believed to be Weeple and Donohue, fleeing the apartment with loot and leaving in the vehicle.
Based on information gathered so far, it is believed that at least Weeple knew the victims.
Larry Jerome Rowe, III, M/33, of Lancaster, PA, was charged with Possession With Intent to Deliver Heroin / Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer / Tampering With Evidence / Possession of Marijuana Arrest, 4:25 p.m., Thursday, June 28, 2018, Lititz Pike at Murry Hill Drive following a traffic stop incident. According to a release issued by Manheim Township Police Department, “An officer on patrol observed Rowe’s vehicle traveling north on Lititz Pike. Rowe’s vehicle had illegal window tint applied to it. When the officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop, the vehicle failed to yield to the officer and a low speed pursuit was initiated. The vehicle traveled north on Lititz Pike, east on East Roseville Road, and south on Oregon Pike. While traveling along Oregon Pike, the driver was seen throwing blue glassine baggies from the vehicle. These baggies are used to package and store heroin. Rowe was stopped on Oregon Pike at Eden Road after getting stopped by a red traffic signal. Rowe was arrested for Fleeing and Attempting to Elude a Police Officer. During a search incident to arrest, officers found four (4) blue glassine baggies containing heroin and $2,655.00 in cash on his person. Officers also located thirteen (13) blue glassine baggies of heroin and one (1) plastic baggie containing loose marijuana on Oregon Pike where Rowe was seen throwing the bags from his vehicle. He was processed and taken to Central Arraignment.”
At around 3: 30, on the morning of Friday, June 29, 2018 Pennsylvania State Police report that two dairy cows were shot in the area of the 400 block of White Horse Road. One cow died as a result of their injury. The second cow suffered an injury to its mouth as a result of being shot, according to PSP Troop J – Lancaster, PA. Anyone with information is asked to contact Trooper Kelly Osborne at 717 299 7650.
The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office, along with the numerous agencies and investigators who have contributed to the case over the years, announce charges filed today in the 1992 murder of Christy Mirack.
Lancaster County Detective Christopher Erb charged 49-year-old Raymond Rowe with criminal homicide regarding Mirack’s death.
Rowe, of Whittier Lane, Lancaster, was arrested at his home Monday afternoon. He was arraigned late Monday night and remanded to Lancaster County Prison without bail.
Rowe uses the professional handle, “DJ Freez,” in regards to his entertainment company. That is relevant to the investigation for reasons stated below.
He is presumed innocent.
“To say this is a major development would be quite the understatement. It is a huge step toward providing long-overdue closure for Christy’s family and friends who have spent decades wondering who brutally murdered their loved one,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said. “We must also remember this is one step in the process. We all must keep in mind the presumption of innocence for all individuals charged with a crime Pennsylvania. The next steps will be taken in court.”
Lancaster County Detective Larry Martin assisted Detective Erb as lead investigators in the case, with oversight from District Attorney Stedman, First Assistant District Attorney Christopher P. Larsen, and Assistant District Attorney Christine L. Wilson.
Mirack, 25, was found dead in her East Lampeter Township townhome on the morning of Dec. 21, 1992. She had been beaten, strangled and sexually assaulted.
A number of agencies – to include East Lampeter Township police, Pennsylvania State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – investigated the case before the Lancaster County Detectives, who work under District Attorney Craig Stedman, took over jurisdiction in 2016.
During that time, detectives commissioned multiple investigative tactics using DNA evidence left at the murder scene, not previously employed in the case.
Specifically, the DNA evidence was submitted to Parabon NanoLabs and a genotype file was generated. Using this file, Parabon created a DNA phenotype “composite” of the killer’s attributes, including hair and eye color and skin tone. The phenotype report included visual composites of what the killer would look like at various ages. That data and associated composites were released to the public in November 2017.
Based on Parabon’s recommendation, detectives subsequently authorized Parabon to upload the genotype file to a public, genetic genealogy database, which resulted in matches to relatives of Raymond Rowe. Parabon’s genealogical research determined that Rowe was a “strong viable suspect.”
On May 31, investigators obtained DNA surreptitiously from Rowe, from chewing gum and a water bottle Rowe used while working as a disc jockey at an event at Smoketown Elementary School.
That DNA was submitted to a Pennsylvania State Police crime lab. Testing revealed a match between that DNA and DNA found on multiple locations of Mirack’s person and on carpet underneath her dead body.
“We really cannot give enough credit to Parabon NanoLabs for the work they did which proved absolutely crucial to filing this charge,” District Attorney Stedman said. “Without their work and expertise, quite frankly, we would not be standing here today with the alleged killer of Christy Mirack charged and in custody.”
The following is additional background on the crime and more a detailed narrative of investigative steps taken:
Mirack, a teacher, was found on the morning of Dec. 21, 1992, when she did not report to school. A staff member of the school went to her home and found her on the floor of her living room. The staff member went to a neighboring home and called 9-1-1.
First-responders arrived and determined Mirack was deceased. She was wearing a coat and gloves, indicating she was leaving for work when she was confronted by an intruder. A wooden cutting board, a weapon used in the killing, was near Mirack’s body.
Mirack’s roommate told police that she left about 7 a.m. for work and that Mirack was still home at that time. Mirack typically left for work about 7:30 a.m., the roommate told police. The roommate reported that Mirack was getting ready for work that day, as she would any other day.
Also, two neighbors in the housing community told police they were walking near Mirack’s home that morning and heard a high-pitched, unexpected scream from the home between 7:10 and 7:20 a.m.
A day after Mirack was found, a forensic pathologist performed an autopsy and determined:
There was severe blunt force trauma to Mirack’s neck, back, upper chest and face;
Mirack sustained bruising, her jaw was fractured, and she had been strangled;
There was evidence that Mirack was sexually assaulted, and numerous sample swabs were collected;
Mirack’s death was ruled a homicide, caused by strangulation.
“We are not at a point where we are discussing or speculating about a motive. Considering the time that has past, some specific questions about motive might never be answered publicly,” District Attorney Stedman said. “I can say, in consideration of all the information and evidence – to include the DNA found at the scene – we know that this defendant raped and brutally murdered Christy Mirack.”
DNA collected from Mirack’s person and the scene was submitted to the PSP lab, where a DNA profile was generated. That profile was entered into a national database, but did not result in a match.
In 2016, when Lancaster County Detectives had jurisdiction of the case, they consulted with Parabon NanoLabs.
Following the phenotype work and genetic genealogy testing of the same DNA, Parabon submitted the following information to Lancaster County Detectives on May 14, 2018:
Matches had been made in the case from the suspect sample submitted;
The matches were of relatives of the suspect, who had voluntarily submitted their DNA to a publically-available genealogy database;
Parabon’s head genealogist, CeCe Moore, conducted the detailed ancestral and genealogical analysis of this submission and determined that Raymond C. Rowe was a strong candidate source of the unknown DNA found at the crime scene.
Regarding the comparison between Rowe’s DNA (collected at the Smoketown Elementary event) and the DNA found at the crime scene, state police lab experts stated there is:
A 1 in 200 octillion chance it was a person, not Rowe, of the Caucasian population;
A 1 in 15 nonillion chance it was a person, not Rowe, from the African American population;
A 1 in 74 octillion chance it was a person, not Rowe, from the Hispanic population.
Source: Lancaster County DA’s Office
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