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Homicide case moved to juvenile system

May 19, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Cumberland County teenager admitted Monday in Franklin County Court he pulled the trigger when a friend placed the barrel of a rifle in his mouth.

"He asked me to do it. Pull the trigger. So I did," Patrick L. Traini told Judge William H. Kaye during a hearing to determine whether his criminal homicide case should be transferred to juvenile court.

Kaye found Traini, of 18 Wooded Lane, Shippensburg, Pa., delinquent in the death of Chad Andrew Nace, 17, of Newburg, Pa., on the evening of Nov. 5, 1997. Although Nace was killed in Franklin County, Judge Kaye ordered Traini's case transferred to the juvenile justice division of Cumberland County Court, where he lives.

Kaye also approved the transfer of Traini from Franklin County Prison to Schaffner Youth Center in Steelton, Pa.

Traini, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, was originally charged by Pennsylvania State Police with causing or aiding the suicide of Nace. A week later he was charged as an adult with criminal homicide.

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"Others had heard the victim had been suicidal prior to the incident," Trooper Roger E. Hall told Kaye. He said that included family members and students at the Franklin County Career and Technology Center, which Nace and Traini attended.

Traini told Kaye he went to Chambersburg Area Middle School on Nov. 5 to speak to students about the heating, ventilation and air conditioning program at the center. Later he was dropped off at his girlfriend's home in the Mount Rock Trailer Park, 7500 Molly Pitcher Highway, Shippensburg.

"I had made arrangements for Chad Nace to pick me up," Traini said.

Outside the girl's home, he got into the car with Nace, he said.

"He asked to see the gun, so I gave it to him," Nace said. He said the .22-caliber rifle, which police said belonged to Nace, was in the front seat of Nace's mother's car.

"He said something about playing a joke on the girls," according to Traini, who said Nace put the muzzle in his mouth.

According to charging documents, Nace reportedly told Traini, "OK, I'm ready."

Trooper Darren Hockenberry said two girls living at the trailer were nearby when the shooting occurred. One was walking away from the car when the shot was fired, but the other saw the shooting, Hockenberry said.

"Both these reports indicate and recommend that Mr. Traini be transferred and dealt with as a juvenile," Assistant District Attorney David W. Rahauser said of examinations of Traini by a psychologist and evaluators in Tioga County, Pa.

Rahauser also said Nace's mother, Bonita, wanted Traini's case to remain in criminal court. Traini's parents sat behind him during the hearing, but Bonita Nace was not present.

Rahauser told Kaye the state could not "sustain the burden" necessary to try Traini as an adult.

After being found delinquent, Traini admitted his role in the killing, which Rahauser said would have been equivalent to voluntary manslaughter if he had been tried as an adult.

Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson later said Traini's case is now in the hands of Cumberland County Court. As a juvenile, he can be held until his 21st birthday.

During the hearing, Hall said Traini was an avid hunter and had taken gun safety courses.

"It's the Commonwealth's position he was aware, or should have been aware, the gun was loaded," Rahauser said after the hearing.

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