And then there was one.
Of the four men originally charged in connection with the killing of a Conneautville-area resident 13 months ago, only one, Brandon Todd Tracy, is currently scheduled to go to trial.
During a pre-trial status conference Wednesday afternoon, President Judge Anthony Vardaro announced that only one of the four young men originally accused by Pennsylvania State Police of killing Ronald Shreffler, 46, in an early-morning robbery at Shreffler’s Summerhill Township home, is headed to trial.
Police accuse Tracy, a Titusville resident who was 18 when the alleged killing occurred, and Harmonsburg residents Alan J. Watkins, and brothers Austin Lee Taylor and Dakota L. Taylor, respectively 19, 18 and 16 years old at the time, of plotting to rob Shreffler of a large amount of marijuana and cash, neither of which was found inside the home.
Tracy allegedly contacted state police Sept. 20, 2011. Although police say Tracy admitted to shooting Shreffler, police also say Tracy claimed that Austin Taylor was pointing a gun at Tracy’s head during the incident. According to police, Tracy has claimed he was forced to take part in the plan and shoot Shreffler or be killed himself.
At a Crawford County Court hearing in April, defense attorneys for Austin Taylor, Watkins and Tracy all argued that the four defendants have antagonistic defenses and would conflict at a combined homicide trial since each defendant would be pointing fingers at the others.
In May, Vardaro denied the motion by Tracy’s defense for separate trials. Following an appeal to county court claiming that the ruling not to separate the trials was prejudicial to Tracy, the motion was again denied by Vardaro, this time without comment.
Monday afternoon, Crawford County District Attorney Francis Schultz said that all discussions about why Watkins and the Taylor brothers are not going to trial “will have to take place after the trial” and declined further comment.
Jury selection is expected to begin Oct. 15; one week of court time has been allocated for the case.
And then there was one.
- Local News
Conneaut Lake Park headed to tax sale over $877K in property taxes
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners said Wednesday it will put into motion plans to have Conneaut Lake Park be sold for overdue property taxes.
Election sets up possible three-way race for two spots
Based on Tuesday night’s unofficial count, there may be a three-way race for two seats on Conneaut School Board in Region 2, which roughly coincides geographically the district’s former Conneaut Valley attendance area.
Two incumbents ousted in PENNCREST primary
Two incumbent members of the PENNCREST School Board apparently have been ousted in a six-way race for the nominations for four seats on the board.
Incumbent Hills wins Republican nomination in Vernon Township
Incumbent Alden Hills is one step closer to retaining his position on the Vernon Township Board of Supervisors after winning the Republican nomination in a three-man primary Tuesday.
The Band Perry ticket crush shuts down county website
The race to obtain tickets to The Band Perry's Crawford County Fair concert overwhelmed the fair's website when tickets went on sale Monday.
Crawford Central taps Rob Smith to fill vacancy
A former elected member of the Crawford Central School Board has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the board to serve until December.
Health group make water fluoridation plea
A crowd of almost 20 members of the local community filled the Meadville Area Water Authority conference room Monday night when a group of local residents organized under the name Community Initiative for Improved Dental Health presented a plea for what they described as “optimal fluoridation of the Meadville community water system.”
Lawmakers mull measures allowing independents into primaries
More than 1 million registered voters in Pennsylvania will be barred from casting a ballot today because the state allows only registered Democrats and Republicans to participate in the primary election.
- 5/20/2013 Tamarack Osprey Photo Gallery
Deadline approaches for local scholarship application
Crawford County residents seeking or continuing a career in engineering, manufacturing, tool and die or plastic molding have until June 3 to apply for up to $4,000 in scholarships.
- More Local News Headlines
- Conneaut Lake Park headed to tax sale over $877K in property taxes