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.
A Columbia man will serve up to 12 years in prison for having heroin, marijuana and a loaded pistol with a scratched-out serial number earlier this year in Manor Township.
Lancaster County Judge Donald Totaro recently sentenced 28-year-old Nehemiah Kemp to 6 to 12 years in prison.
Kemp pleaded guilty to four felonies and a misdemeanor in exchange for the sentence, in accordance with an agreement arranged by Assistant District Attorney Barry Goldman.
On Jan. 10, Manor Township police pulled over Kemp’s vehicle on Seitz Road.
During a search, police found a loaded Smith and Wesson .45-caliber pistol in a center console. The serial number on the gun was scratched out.
Police also found nearly 5 grams of heroin and nearly 3 ounces of marijuana, along with drug-packaging supplies and $790 cash.
While ordering sentence, Judge Totaro told Kemp he has three kids and another on the way, yet was engaged in criminal behavior.
Manor Township police Officer Colleen Tatara filed charges.
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 STRONG THUNDERSTORM WILL AFFECT CENTRAL CHESTER COUNTY…
At 302 PM EDT, a strong thunderstorm was located over New Holland,
moving east at 20 mph.
Winds up to 40 mph are possible with this storm.
Locations impacted include…
Coatesville, Downingtown, Kennett Square, Oxford, Parkesburg, West
Grove, Honey Brook, Elverson, Homeville, Cochranville, Glenmoore,
Mount Vernon, Atglen, South Coatesville, Avondale, Christiana,
Modena, Thorndale and Toughkenamon.
Torrential rainfall is also occurring with this storm, and may cause
localized flooding. Do not drive your vehicle through flooded
Frequent cloud to ground lightning is occurring with this storm.
Lightning can strike 10 miles away from a thunderstorm. Seek a safe
shelter inside a building or vehicle.
By: Andrea Sears
PHILADELPHIA – The ACLU is appealing a court ruling that allows a county transit system to ban ads from an atheist group. The County of Lackawanna Transit System refused to allow the Northeast Pennsylvania Freethought Society to place ads on its vehicles that contained the word “atheist” and the group’s website. The transit system said the ads were too controversial.
According to ACLU staff attorney Brian Hauss, when a government entity such as a transit authority opens up a space for public speech, the First Amendment puts strict limits on its ability to censor that speech.
“When the government has the power to censor speech simply because it’s too controversial, history has shown time and again that the government will inevitably use that power for the benefit of people with political connections and the powerful, and to the detriment of everybody else,” he says.
The Federal District Court upheld the ban, saying the vehicles are a “limited public forum,” allowing for more discretion, and because the ban was not based on the viewpoint of the ads.
But Hauss disagrees with that determination. He points out that when the government is given wide discretion to prohibit speech it deems controversial, no one knows what the factors are that go into that determination.
“If the government concluded, for example, that an ad supporting Black Lives Matter was hate speech, it would be empowered to suppress that advertisement and its discretion would be very hard to overrule,” he explains.
He notes that in a similar case, a transit system in the nation’s capital banned an ad placed by the ACLU that simply contained the text of the First Amendment.
And Hauss points out that official censorship leads to the stifling of debate and the public’s right to know, as has happened in Philadelphia.
“The transit system there refused to run an ad about mortgage discrimination,” notes Hauss. “It was an informational ad explaining that there was systemic mortgage discrimination in a lot of housing in Pennsylvania.”
The ACLU is appealing the Lackawanna ruling to the Federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) today announced that $1 million in PENNVEST-funded grants are being made available to assist landowners with planting trees along streams in Pennsylvania to improve water quality.
Pennsylvania has a goal of planting 95,000 acres of streamside buffers by 2025.
“Simply put, we can improve the water quality in our rivers and streams by planting trees along them to slow down runoff and filter sediments and fertilizers we apply to the land,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said.
To expand on the existing streamside buffer options for landowners, DCNR has a multi-functional buffer option that is eligible for these grant dollars to provide greater flexibility in landowner eligibility, buffer designs, widths, plant species and allows planting of some income-producing crops in the buffer zone. For the PENNVEST-funded grants, multi-functional buffers are preferred but not required.
“PENNVEST is pleased to be a part of this effort to expand multi-use buffers, as we believe it is imperative that we develop a sustainable funding source to support the streamside buffer goal for 2025 and beyond,” said PENNVEST Executive Director Brion Johnson.
The DCNR Community Conservation Partnership Program grant round is currently open and will close September 28.
Individual landowners; businesses; non-profit organizations; local governments; and educational institutions are all eligible for the buffer grants, but must be prequalified.
Information about how to prequalify is available online on the DCNR grant portal.
Forest buffers along stream banks provide critical barriers between polluting landscapes and receiving waterways. Properly planted and maintained, streamside tree and shrub plantings:
- Filter the runoff of sediments and the fertilizers that are applied to lawns and crops
- Control erosion
- Improve water quality
- Reduce flooding
- Cool stream temperatures
- Improve fish habitat
The grant application period opening this week also includes $250,000 for trails and projects related to the use of snowmobiles and ATVs. Funding for Snowmobile/ATV projects is through the ATV Management Restricted Account and the Snowmobile Management Restricted Account as authorized by Act 97 of 2016. The accounts are supported by registration fees.
Trail projects include acquisition; planning; development; rehabilitation; or maintenance of designated routes on land for motorized recreation activities. This includes the purchase of equipment for trail construction or maintenance.
Interested applicants should visit DCNR’s grants portal to apply.