Man cleared in fatal shooting of intruder

May 08, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - An 18-year-old man who fatally shot a teen intruder will not be charged in connection with the shooting, according to authorities.

Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson on Wednesday ruled the April 23 shooting death of Ernesto "Ernie" Casanova Jr., 17, by Daniel Alan Frazier, 18, in a Greene Township, Pa., mobile home was justifiable homicide.

"It has been decided that no criminal charges will be filed against Daniel Frazier in the death of Ernesto Casanova," Nelson said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon in the Franklin County Courthouse. "According to Daniel Frazier's statement, which appears consistent with the facts determined in the investigation, the actual shooting of Casanova was unintentional."


Frazier shot Casanova, who was wearing a mask, in the forehead once with a Beretta .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol, authorities said.

Intruders in home

Casanova, who was armed with a sawed-off baseball bat, and at least two other masked individuals, one armed with a 12-gauge shotgun, entered the back door of the residence at 4496 Sycamore Grove Road shortly after 3 a.m. on April 23, according to Nelson. The back door was near the bedrooms of Frazier's parents, Alan and Barbara, and his younger brother, Nelson said.

Once inside, Casanova proceeded to the other end of the mobile home where Daniel Frazier's bedroom was located.

Frazier was awake watching television in his bedroom when he heard noises and his mother's scream, according to Frazier's statement to police. Frazier retrieved a loaded handgun from beneath his pillow and was exiting his bedroom to investigate when he confronted Casanova, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a bandanna-type mask over the lower part of his face, Nelson said.

Frazier told police he saw the baseball bat and raised his hands to protect himself and briefly scuffled with Casanova. The firearm discharged and the bullet struck Casanova in the head, killing him, Nelson said.

The other intruders fled the scene and Frazier called 911 at about 3:12 a.m., said Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Mark Grove, leading investigator of the shooting.

Justified shooting

Nelson explained that though the shooting was unintentional, the Pennsylvania Crimes Code states that Frazier would have been justified to use deadly force to protect himself and his family against the armed, masked, intruder.

However, Frazier is facing other criminal charges. Frazier was charged Monday with two misdemeanor drug violations and a felony firearms charge for allegedly altering or obliterating marks of identification on the pistol.

Grove said Frazier recently purchased the gun illegally and that it hasn't been determined if it was stolen.

"That's complicated by the fact that several numbers have been altered" on the gun, Grove said.

The shotgun used in the break-in apparently came from Casanova's Chambersburg home, Grove said.

Frazier reported to state police before the shooting that he had been threatened and chased by some of the individuals believed to be involved in the break-in, Nelson said.

Frazier knew Michael Paul Jett, 18, one of six charged in the break-in, because they used to live across the street from each other, Nelson said.

Jett and five others have been charged with burglary, attempted robbery, attempted theft, and criminal conspiracy.

The others charged are:

  • Tytus Lee Taylor, 20, of Chambersburg
  • Marcus Larock Taylor, 18, of Chambersburg
  • George Washington Jones, 18, of Chambersburg
  • Anthony Franklin D'Ambrosio, 16, of Chambersburg
  • Amanda Eileen Colon, 18, of Waynesboro, Pa.

The group planned in advance to break into the Frazier residence with the intent of robbing the family of money, valuables and/or drugs, according to court records.

Parents ask questions

Casanova's mother, Sonia Granados, and father, Ernesto Casanova Sr., both attended the press conference and said afterwards they want to hire an attorney to further investigate the shooting death of their son.

"They have no answers for us. What Ernie did was bad, but the way he was killed, that's a big question mark," Granados said. "I wish someone would tell us what really happened."

Casanova said he didn't understand how Frazier, who is right-handed, could have shot his son in the opposite side of the head.

With no information on the time of their son's death, Granados and Casanova said they're suspicious about events right after the shooting.

They also questioned the delay by police to charge Frazier for possession of an illegal weapon.

Casanova's parents said they believe the bullet was meant for someone else and that their son had been set up by one of the others who broke in.

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