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Singley murder trial set for July

May 05, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Chambersburg man charged with two counts of criminal homicide was scheduled for the July trial term after his arraignment Wednesday in Franklin County Court.

"I will enter on the record ... a plea of not guilty on your behalf," Judge Richard J. Walsh told Michael Brandon Singley at the end of the 20-minute court appearance.

Dressed in an orange prison uniform, Singley sat between Public Defender Robert J. Trambley and co-counsel Michael J. Toms. He remained handcuffed except when signing court documents.

Singley, 22, of 1125 E. Brandon Ave., could have been arraigned informally outside a courtroom by signing some documents, but he asked to be arraigned formally before a judge, according to Assistant District Attorney Jill McCracken.

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Trambley and Toms offered no explanation for why their client wanted to be arraigned in open court.

At the arraignment Walsh explained the charges against Singley and the possible penalties. In the case of the two criminal homicide counts related to the Nov. 3 killings of Christine Rohrer and James Gilliam, he could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder.

A notice of aggravating circumstances, a procedural requirement in cases in which the prosecution plans to seek the death penalty, was filed Tuesday by District Attorney John F. Nelson.

Singley also is charged with two counts of attempted homicide and one count each of criminal trespass and theft.

Prior to the arraignment, Singley, Trambley, Toms and McCracken met with Walsh in the judge's chambers. "We just had some issues to resolve before we went into court," Toms said.

McCracken said they were explaining the procedure to Singley.

Singley was arrested at his home Nov. 4, the day after Christine Rohrer, 23, of 391 Elder St., was found bound and stabbed in the bedroom of her home. Her husband Travis, 22, who is Singley's cousin, was stabbed and shot but survived. Outside the duplex, next door neighbor Gilliam, 39, of 395 Elder St., was killed by a gunshot to the chest. His fiancee, Deb Hock, was fired at but missed by a man who then stole the Rohrers' Jeep.

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