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Singley waives hearing

March 26, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Michael Brandon Singley on Thursday waived a preliminary hearing and was scheduled for mandatory arraignment in Franklin County Court on charges that he killed his cousin's wife and a neighbor last November.

Public Defender Robert J. Trambley would not comment on the decision to pass on a hearing before District Justice Gary L. Carter.

Carter scheduled Singley to appear for arraignment on May 5, Trambley said.

Preliminary hearings are held to establish whether there is enough evidence against a defendant to have the charges bound over for court. The hearings usually involve testimony from police or witnesses to a crime.

Singley, 22, of 1126 E. Brandon Drive, Chambersburg, has been charged by Chambersburg Borough Police with two counts each of criminal homicide and attempted homicide and one count each of theft and criminal trespass.

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At 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, 1998, police were called to a duplex on Elder Street. Outside they found James Gilliam, 39, of 395 Elder St., dead of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Inside 391 Elder St., police found the body of Christine Rohrer, 23, who had been stabbed to death. Her husband, Singley's cousin, Travis Rohrer, 22, had been stabbed and shot, according to police records.

According to police records, a man also shot at, but missed Deb L. Hock, 33, who lived with Gilliam. The man then drove off in the Rohrer's Jeep.

Singley was arrested the next day at his home. Police found the Jeep about a block away.

A defense psychiatrist determined in February that Singley was competent to assist with his own defense, and a stay on legal proceedings was lifted.

According to the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, the state has until the time of mandatory arraignment to file notice with the court that it will seek the death penalty. District Attorney John F. Nelson said Thursday he will make a decision soon.

The prosecution must cite aggravating circumstances in order to seek the death penalty, according to state law. In this case, Singley is charged with multiple homicides and felonies committed in the course of the homicides, both of which constitute aggravating circumstances.

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