Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 1, 1998 · Page 9
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 9

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Thursday, January 1, 1998
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A-9 we saw a drop-off in 'gang killing earlier in the year. we thought our murder rate would be down if PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE B THURSDAY, JANUARY 1, 1998 LIST FROM PAGE A-8 . ' !' 1 ' M ' 'II no trie the pe the the . . . --; ... .. .. .. -" ". .-: ,;.. : . ; " i t - i if)'' ' I J- ', 1 : ' ' "r t " 1 $ ' ' , fr" ' -'r- -. f" J " , ' ,J , l , f,' "', ?' 4i ' '-;: Hi! de. : the ba : ce I 4 " (I 1 I ' , I lH?V,,;'f jfs !f ' , i! i " J, 1 it JlV wit ro i'Z'li "' 17' f" Raymond Tadder, left, the brother of William who discovered Tadder's body at the Mount r I I Tony TyePost-Uazette Tadder, who was slain on January 1 1 stands Washington house. Accused killer died in , By Michael A. Fuoco Post-Gazette Staff Writer man is killed, and his accused slayer dies the same year in a futile attempt to escape bounds unusual, but that is what ; case of victim Henry Egbo and the tective Dennis Logan said Griffith told him that her new procurer had Insisted that she get money from Tadder because she had recently moved in with him. On Jan. 1 1 , as Tadder was on the phone with the procurer, Griffith picked up a hammer and hit Tadder twice, Logan recounted, Griffith hit Tadder again on the head, then got his jgun from a bedroom and shot him in the chest, Logan jsaia. one men siuie cumpaw uiscs ana q,uuu srie found in ladder's socks., A letter carrier spotted the body Jan. 14 after ne noticed mail piling up at ladder's home on Laclede Street. JAN. 11 Henry Egbo See accompanying story. JAN. 14 Ryan Hacke Ryan was a year old when a bullet whizzed through the window of his father's van Jan. 1 1 and struck him in the head as he sat strapped in a child's car seat at a gas station in Homestead. He died three days later. His killer, Vaughn Mathis, 23, of Wilkinsburg, was convicted in September of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to nine to 18 years in prison. . : Mathis also faces up to 50 years in prison for a conviction Dec. 4 on charges of assault, burglary, reckless andangerment, unlawful entry and terroristic threats in connection with the rape Sept. 8, 1995, of a Wilkinsburg woman. Mathis had been out on bail, awaiting trial in the rape case, when he pulled the pistol in Homestead and fired at a group of people getting gas in another vehicle. One of the slugs hit Ryan. , JAN. 15 Dorothy Siemers In Pittsburgh, she was known as Deanna Bray. But weeks before her body was found in a creek in Shaler, her foster mother in Yadkinville, N.C., said she had a premonition that harm had come to her daughter, known as Dorothy Siemers in North Carolina. Allegheny County homicide detectives still have not found the killer, who left bruises on the head and neck of Siemers, 29, of the North Side, before throwing her body into icy Pine Creek. JAN. 19 -Keith Washington A Manchester man was ordered to stand trial in the Jan. 19 shooting death of Washington, 26, of Liverpool Street in the same neighborhood. Jermaine Colwell, 20, of Sheffield Street, told police he shot Washington during an altercation about 9:25 p.m. in the 1 1 00 block of Sheffield. Two pieces of suspected crack cocaine, individually wrapped for sale, were found next to Washington's body. JAN. 21 Lawrence Beiter Kevin Beiter told police that he hated his father so much that he thought for a week or so of ways to ..harm him. On Jan. 1 4, he slammed a baseball bat twice onto the head of Lawrence Beiter in the basement of their home on Logans Ferry Road in Plum. While Lawrence Beiter, 56, lay dying in a hospital bed, Kevin Beiter, 25, fled to Florida with his father's wallet and the family's car. Five days before the beating, police had been called to (he Beiter home because Kevin had struck his mother and kicked his father. Lawrence Beiter died Jan. 21 , and Kevin Beiter was arrested Jan. 27 in Ft. Lauderdale. JAN. 24-Robert V. Fuller The body of Fuller, 23, of Sheraden, a part-time bartender at the Second Avenue Cafe in Hazelwood, was found by a customer about, 10:35 p.m. He had been shot in the chest. Rico Hall, 32, of the 5200 block of Second Avenue, Hazelwood, was arrested Jan. 27 and charged in the homicide. Hall's trial ended Oct. 2 with a hung jury. Assistant District Attorney Janet Necessary said she planned to retry the case. JAN. 25. Jabari Bowe Bowe hung out at a notorious street corner in Perry' i South late at night. On Jan. 25, he became the fourth ! person to die and the 18th person to be shot at Per- ' A , ki-i. r.1 i ft, a j . rysvwe avenue aim ivut ui oiraries oireei in iwu years. Bowe was shot in the chest about 2:10 a.m. Police said another teen-ager was shot in the foot. - On March 8, about 75 people attended a "take , back the streets" vigil at the corner. The case is unsolved. JAN. 28 Salvatore "Sam" Brunsvold -- For months, a billboard advertised a $7,000 reward for information in Brunsvold's death. But despite . the reward, the killing of Brunsvold, a chaplain at the '.University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon Universi-'. ty, remains unsolved. Brunsvold, 36, was shot in the head on North St. Hair Street in Highland Park as he was returning from a meeting to his home in the 5700 block of Wellesley Street. He was pronounced dead at 2:05 a.m. in Presby-' terian University Hospital. Brunsvold, the father of three, was the campus minister for the Christian Church and Churches of Christ at the two universities. On Jan. 29, a man contacted another college chaplain, offering to sell her information about the slaying. Wearing a bulletproof vest beneath her velour tunic, the woman drove to Larimer Avenue to meet the suspect, who turned out to be a scam artist who ' knew nothing about the case. , Police arrested James Thompson, 42, of Lincoln-- Lemington and charged him with one count of at-' -tempted theft by deception for trying to sell informa- tion about the case. Police were back to square one. . FEBRUARY FEB. 8 -Gerald Potter Vi . Allegheny County Deputy Coroner Timothy G. ' Uhrich concluded an open inquest by ruling that city ' police Officer Fred Crawford Jr. was justified in fatally mS- Erie ' Pa" Crawford 0K Murders by for 1996 and P Homicides Homicides roeville and Century III malls, running up more than $3,000 in charges. Jackson and Bullock and three of their friends also went to Egbo's apartment in Ross, where they removed two . television sets, his personal items and clothing, hoping to make it look as if Egbo had left the area. The key to breaking the case was the arrest of Bullock at a Downtown sporting goods store Jan. 13 after he tried to use Egbo's credit card. A clerk at the store called police when she noticed that the signature area of the card had been scraped. The credit card had not been reported stolen, and checks by Pittsburgh police determined that no one had seen Egbo for days. Pittsburgh police asked Ross police to check his apartment, and they found it cleared of all his possessions except for some shoes. His car also was missing. The case was turned over to Pittsburgh homicide detectives the day after Bullock's arrest. They, in turn, asked coun-i ty homicide detectives for help. On Jan. 15, a man strolling along the Monongahela River in Duck Hollow spotted Egbo's body weighted down by cinder blocks in three feet of water. The three suspects were charged with homicide and were held for trial, but Bullock never got that far. In November, he fell about 13 stories to his death while trying to escape from . the Allegheny County Jail. For weeks, bullock and two other inmates, including David Michael Torres, who is accused in three homicides, had planned to escape from their 17th-floor cells. They braided strips of sheets to form a makeshift rope they planned to use to lower themselves to the ground. But the night of Nov. 12, the scheme ended in tragedy when the rope snapped after Bullock had rappelled down the wall only a short distance. Even had the sheets been stronger, the rope would have . been about 85 feet short of reaching the ground. Bullock. The case began in January 1997, when Egbo was driving along Herron Avenue in the Hill District, saw a woman walking along and asked whether she wanted a ride. Normita Jackson accepted the ride, had a few drinks with Egbo, and decided he was a good target for a robbery. Egbo, 42, a civil engineer from Glenview, 111., was working in Pittsburgh and staying in Ross, and Jackson feigned a romantic interest in him. Jackson, her disabled mother, Rose Buckner, and her L boyfriend, Bullock, concocted a plan, police said. i On Jan. 1 1, Jackson invited Egbo to the Webster Avenue apartment she shared with Buckner, 46, who had been disabled by a stroke. Also waiting there, armed with a shotgun, , was Bullock, 18, who also was known as Rayton Bullock, of Woodbine Street, Stanton Heights. When Egbo entered the apartment, Bullock shot him in the back and removed his wallet, which contained $80, police said. Then, using Buckner's wheelchair, they wheeled Egbo's body around the apartment, trying to figure out what to do with him. Eventually, they stuffed the body into a garbage can and decided to deal with him later. - Police said they couldn't wait to use Egbo's credit cards. Jackson, Buckner and Bullock later told police they headed for the suburbs with friends for a shopping spree. During the next few days, the group shopped at Mon- The coroner's office said Harber, 25, of 227 S. Mathilda St., died of suffocation. Pittsburgh detectives, who have no suspects, said robbery was the likely motive. Harber had been dead for at least 24 hours when his body was discovered, detectives believe. There did not appear to be forced entry to the second-floor apartment where Harber lived alone. APRIL 2 Carmelo When Sciulli, 36, of Squirrel Hill was fatally shot April 2 on Flowers Avenue in Hazelwood, police initially believed he and his wife were on their way to pick . up their children at Minadeo Elementary School in Greenfield. Later, however, the victim's wife, Pamela Sciulli, . said the couple had driven there to buy a $20 piece of crack. Carmelo Sciulli was wounded in the chest After he . was shot, Sciulli put his car into reverse and tried to flee. He lost control of the car, which rolled about 50 , feet across the street and into a fence at 310 Flowers Ave. Sciulli was taken to Presbyterian University Hos- pital, where he died. Arrested was Damont C. Hagan, 17, of Hazelwood. He was charged with homicide, robbery and carrying a firearm without a license; he went to trial. . But on Sept. 12, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge W. Terrence O'Brien declared a mistrial in the case. Hagan's attorney, G. William Bills, requested the , mistrial after he learned police had shown Hagan's photograph twice to a key witness. The witness identi-( tied Hagan as the man who ran through her back yard carrying a gun just after Sciulli was shot to death. The prosecution, Bills said, had an obligation to inform him of photographic identifications by witnesses. A new trial will be scheduled for this year. APRIL 8 Michael Kovacic An 84-year-old man whose body was discovered April 8 in his Windgap home was the victim of a homi-. cide, the Allegheny County coroner's office said. The body of Kovacic, 84, was found at the bottom of a flight of stairs leading to his garage at 3765 Haven St. He died of a blow to the head, an autopsy revealed. There was no forced entry into the home, but Ko-vacic's car and some personal possessions were missing, indicating that he was the victim of a robbery. Kovacic's car, a four-door, charcoal-gray 1987 Dodge Shadow, was found parked in a Downtown garage July 7. An attendant in the Mellon Square Parking Garage. 424 Sixth Ave., notified police after he spotted the car parked on the sixth floor of the garage. The case remains unsolved. APRIL 8 Damian Walker Although more than a dozen people were present in the apartment when the shootout started, everyone told police that they neither saw nor heard anything after Walker, 16, of Hazelwood, was killed. Police found Walker on the kitchen floor, a .32-cal-iber pistol in his pocket. He died at 3:35 a.m. in Presbyterian University Hospital about an hour after the shooting. No arrests have been made because witnesses have not cooperated with police, Allegheny County homicide investigators said. One woman, Tanika Jackson, 18, of Beltzhoover, who was wounded in the leg, told police that she did not see or hear any shooting. APRIL 12 Raymond Grimes A Homewood youth pleaded guilty in September to involuntary manslaughter for the April 12 shooting death of Grimes, 16, of Homewood. Ronald Thornhill, 15. contended the shooting was an accident. He was playing with a .38-caliber handgun in the basement of a Homewood apartment building where he and some fnends were planning to play cards and drink gin. However, the victim's mother, Linda Grimes, said that she didn't believe it was an accident because the two youths had quarreled earlier. "This young man meant to shoot my son. You don't keep putting a real gun to people's heads." APRIL 22 Dante Barber Anthony L. Bratcher is accused of throwing an unlucky punch. Following a coroner's hearing, Bratcher, 31 , was held for tnal on a homicide charge in the death of Barber, who died April 22 after Bratcher hit him once in the side of the face in Homewood the preceding day. The coroner's report ruled that Bratcher's punch compounded problems that Barber, 27, suffered in December 1995 when he was hit in the head with a baseball bat. Relatives of the victim told detectives it was "common knowledge" that Barber had recently undergone brain surgery for injuries he received when he was beaten with the bat. But Bratcher's attorney, James M. Ecker, tried-to argue that Bratcher should not be held responsible for Barber's death because Barber had a plate in his head from the previous injury. Deputy Coroner Timothy G. Uhrich ruled against Ecker and ordered Bratcher held for court on the homicide charge. Witnesses identified Bratcher as the man who walked up to Barber at 6 p.m. at Tioga Street and Brushton Avenue in Homewood, punched him in the head and face and then fled, Barber died later at Presbyterian University Hospital after undergoing surgery. APRIL 22 Anthony Shipp-Smith Sitting on the curb feeding birds in front of his Penn Hills home, 4-year-old Shipp-Smith was caught in the line of fire of a man who said he was shooting at someone who had stolen a stereo. One of the bullets, fired by Dante Carter, struck Anthony in the head. Another bullet struck Yare Thomas, 22, in the foot. Anthony's mother, Keely Smith, testified that she saw the shots as they were fired and begged Carter to stop long enough for her to retrieve her son. But Carter ignored her pleas. Carter, 20, was convicted of Anthony's murder and sentenced to life in prison. He also was sentenced to 5 to 1 0 years for wounding Thomas. APRIL 26 Gregory L. Schumacher Schumacher's body was found at 11 a.m. April 26 in his Brignton Heights home by his father, who had gone to his son's residence because he had not heard from him. Mark Schumacher found his 46-year-old son dead on his kitchen floor, where he had been beaten and strangled two days earlier. During a coroner's hearing, Pittsburgh police homicide Detective Dennis Logan said Robert Irgang, 30, confessed to the killing. At the end of the hearing, Deputy Coroner Timothy G. Uhrich held Irgang for trial on a single homicide count. Logan testified that Irgang said he had previously . , spent nights at his friend's home and kept clothing there. But the friendship turned violent in the early morning hours of April 23, when Irgang awoke to find Schumacher's hand on his leg, which he took to be a sexual advance, Logan said. Logan said Irgang hit Schumacher once, and as Schumacher fell back, Irgang pursued him. He said Irgang repeatedly banged Schumacher's head against the living room wall and when Schumacher tried to escape. Irgang pursued him into the kitchen, where he beat him with a skillet and choked him. MAY MAY 4 Frederick Morgan Jr. SEE LIST, PAGE A-10 with Officer Tony Viscomi and a mailman escape bid MARCH 23 Erik Westbrook Westbrook, 30, was one of several patrons at the crowded Hollywood Club in Clairton when shots rang out sometime after 2 a.m. Westbrook, of Clairton, was shot several times. He died about an hour later at Jefferson Hospital. No arrests have been made. MARCH 24 Darnell Rhodes Rhodes, 21, of Beltzhoover, was walking home from a bar when he was shot at 231, Climax St. The case remains unsolved. MARCH 25 Ann Hoover A day of testimony by police officers, neighbors and others who knew Roy O. Kirk produced nothing to contradict the investigators' theory that Kirk killed and dismembered his Oakland neighbor and then hanged himself in a police van. Witnesses at a coroner's inquest May 27 agreed that a disheveled Kirk, when handcuffed by police, screamed that he wanted them to kill him on the spot. Moments earlier, police had found the body of Ann Hoover, 44, in the basement of Kirk's dilapidated row house. Police believe Kirk opened a hole in a basement wall between his house and Hoover's, bludgeoned her to death and began cutting her into pieces. Hoover and other neighbors had planned to attend a hearing in Housing Court the morning of March 25 to complain about the blighted condition of Kirk's property. Two women who dated Kirk described him as increasingly depressed and isolated as his rift with neighbors widened. "He often talked about killing himself," said Lydia McGeorge. Kirk's fiancee. She said Kirk had complained of receiving crank phone calls, having his property vandalized and of being shot twice, although . she said she never saw the wounds because Kirk insisted on keeping them bandaged. During a recess, McGeorge told reporters that Kirk had not revealed any specific intention to harm . Hoover but had said he had "something planned" to deal with harassment from his neighbors. "He said this was not going to have a happy ending," McGeorge said. MARCH 29 Keith McGee Gerald Parker said he was worned about retaliation from McGee after he argued with McGee's brother March 28. So when the two Baldwin Borough men ran into each other the next day, Parker, 43, shot McGee, 31 , in the chest with a shotgun, police said. Parker is awaiting tnal for homicide. APRIL APRIL 1-Michael S. Harber Rewards up to $10,000 are being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer of Harber, of Bloomfield. His body was discovered April 1 on hissed with his mouth gagged, his feet bound and his hands handcuffed behind his back. his fate. happened in tne suspect, Jerome Pittsburgh police continue to search for suspects in a drive-by snooting that left Maxwell dead and a teen-ager wounded. Maxwell, 36, of Homewood, mother of children ages 5 and 1 1 , died from a single gunshot wound of the head shortly after 11 p.m. William Lowe, 18, also of Homewood, was shot three times but survived. Maxwell and Lowe were on opposite sides of the street when shots were fired from a vehicle at Hamilton Avenue and North Murtland Street in Homewood. FEB. 28 Leah Janene Hall The murder of Leah Hall remains one of the seven cases in 1997 that Allegheny County homicide investigators have not solved. Hall's fully clothed body was found by a Conrail track inspector in a wooded area near railroad tracks in Carnegie. Hall, 32, of Oakland, was the mother of three. Investigators have possible connections between her killing and that of Dorothy Seimers five weeks earlier. Both women had records for drug abuse and prostitution, and their clothed bodies were found in secluded locations. No arrests have been made in either case. MARCH MARCH 12 Shareen O'Toole Three months after his ex-wife died of stab wounds, Brian O'Toole, 34, of Duquesne, faced a coroner's hearing on charges that he killed her. He had been held in Mayview State Hospital since the May 12 incident in part because he suffered self-inflicted stab wounds of the chest. His ex-wife, Shareen O'Toole, died of stab wounds of the chest and abdomen. . As an ambulance transported Brian O'Toole to the hospital, police said, he confessed to the killing. He is awaiting trial. MARCH 15 Thomas Roberts On March 16, police in Forward were called to search for Thomas Roberts, 47, who had been reported missing. The next day, an acquaintance, David Lewis, 47, walked into the police station and admitted he had shot his friend. Lewis told police that he had been in a long-running dispute with Roberts over a piece of property.-The two men argued and Lewis said he shot Roberts several times in self-defense. Lewis took police to a wooded area, where they found Roberts' body beneath a pile of rocks. . Lewis is awaiting trial. MARCH 18 -Martell Edwell Larry Bndgett, 27, had been living with Edwefl's former girlfriend in Terrace Village. On March 18, Bridged saw Edwell, 21, on Wadsworth Street, walked up to him and shot him irr the face and back. In. December, Bridgett was convicted of third-de- . gree murder. shooting Gerald Potter, 19, of Homewood, inside the Small World Bar in Homewood Feb. 8. Although Uhrich ruled no charges should be filed against Crawford, who was moonlighting as a security guard, he questioned the credibility of Crawford's testimony. Crawford said he was working in the parking lot, which is permitted by the rules governing moonlighting by police. Some bar patrons, however, said they saw Crawford inside the bar most of the evening. If true, that would violate a regulation prohibiting officers from working after hours at establishments that serve liquor. For Crawford to work as an off-duty security guard, he was required to apply for a special permit. . At the inquest, Crawford testified that he and another officer avoided ttiat paper work by going directly to Chief Robert W. McNeilly Jr. and asking for permission to work a detail at the bar. McNeilly later said the officers had not received his permission. Crawford, 32, a 10-year veteran, testified that he had been sitting in his car across from the bar's parking lot when he saw Potter make angry statements to another man. Crawford said he went inside to talk to the manager about what he had seen. There, he said, he saw Potter backing into the bar, holding a gun with his finger on the trigger. Crawford pulled his gun and ordered Potter to drop his. He said Potter spun around and focused his gun's laser sight on Crawford. Crawford fired once; Potter died from a single gunshot wound of the stomach. : Police later determined that Potter's gun was not loaded. FEB. 20 Doris Johnson Police may never know why Thomas Johnson, 91 , shot and killed i his wife, Doris, 63, and himself. But their deaths ended a tragic .week for the family. Seven days before the shootings, Doris Johnson's mother, Emily Broad-us, 80, died. The two were very close. . Although Broadus lived on Talbot Avenue in Braddock and the Johnsons lived on Pine 'Smh Way, they Centre 0O shared a back yard. Most nights, Broadus slept at the Johnsons' residence. Broadus was buried two days before the Johnsons' deaths. FEB. 21 Loretta Maxwell Post Gazette county 1997 in 1996 in 1997 Mercer '.' jLawronce N ..Vbnangct IJeffersortf ( Clarion ; Clearfield ) E3JL: ! Beavef HI Rrijjrmstroncji . . Indiana Allegheny P!tttKir;h ' E3 0. Cambria Blair , 01. S3 2 Vifeetmoreland ' Washington Greene 1 : Bedford , Somerset ids 'U9- OJJi - Source County coroners and district attorneys

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