The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

May 22, 2014

2 suspects in Crash slaying, DA says

HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP — Investigators have identified two “persons of interest” in the July stabbing death of Greenville-area businessman Frank Crash, but are “months away” from an arrest, according to District Attorney Robert Kochems.

A news release issued Wednesday afternoon said there had been significant developments in the case after laboratory tests matched DNA from one of the suspects to evidence at the crime scene.

Additional evidence also indicates a second person may have been involved.

Crash was likely not a “randomly selected victim,” Kochems said. Thirteen new pieces of evidence from the Pittsburgh area were sent this week for testing to the Pennsylvania State Police crime lab in Erie.

Kochems said a woman who is a suspect is serving a lengthy state prison sentence and a male suspect has left the state and is likely on the East Coast.

He said he hopes that information will relieve fears of Greenville-area residents that the pair will commit further crimes.

“The citizens of Mercer County have a right to expect all of our investigative processes are as complete as possible before we accuse anyone of murder,” Kochems said.

“I have consistently said that naming a person of interest is the same as labeling them a defendant by charging the person with a crime. Since even charged defendants are presumed innocent, I am unwilling to attempt to make an arrest until the police can seek an arrest warrant with a sworn ‘affidavit of probable cause’ attached that lists substantially all of the evidence against a defendant,” he said.

“Because of the broad scope of the investigation, various paths of inquiry need to be completed and all of the available evidence must be ready to present at the time arrests are made because of the then-defendants’  right to a fair and speedy trial. As a result, we are not prepared to release the names of the persons of interest at this time,” Kochems said.

Kochems, as is his custom, said in the news release he would not comment further or answer questions.

Crash, 76, the owner of Frank Crash Auto Wrecking, was stabbed nearly 70 times in his Hempfield Township home. Police said Crash was last seen eating dinner alone at the Hickory Grill in Hermitage at 10:30 p.m. July 24.

His daughter, Pamela Higbee, found his body at 9:30 a.m. July 25. She went to his home at 362 Mercer Ave., after he didn’t show up for work.

Court documents said Crash was found lying in blood, with a cell phone snapped in half beside him. Telephone lines inside the home had been ripped from the wall, police said.

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