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1970s slaying cases continued in Pa.

March 06, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Defendants in two criminal homicide cases dating back to the 1970s have been granted continuances in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

Larry Eugene Hull, 52, of St. Thomas, Pa., pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison in 1979, but a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals granted him a new trial last year.

Hull was charged in the Feb. 25, 1975, shooting death of Lloyd Shatzer of St. Thomas. Pennsylvania State Police records said Hull dumped Shatzer's body down a well after he was shot during a drunken argument.

The appeals court ruled Hull's attorney did not adequately challenge a prosecution expert who said Hull was competent to stand trial. Hull spent much of the time between the 1975 shooting and his 1979 competency hearing in a state mental hospital, court records state.

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District Attorney John F. Nelson said Hull was granted the continuance to May to allow time for a mental health evaluation to be completed.

Michael Wayne McCormick Jr., 51, of Chambersburg, is charged with criminal homicide in the March 19, 1979, death of his friend, Alan B. Cosey, 23, of Waynesboro, Pa. Cosey's death was originally ruled a suicide by Waynesboro and Pennsylvania State Police.

Cosey died of a gunshot wound to the chest from a black powder pistol he owned. McCormick reported finding the body in Cosey's apartment, according to police records.

Assistant Public Defender Nancy Meyers said the continuance was granted Monday because Court of Common Pleas Judge Richard J. Walsh has not yet ruled on defense motions presented at a Dec. 9 hearing. The defense is asking the case be dismissed for lack of evidence.

State police charged McCormick in 1998 after alleging he made incriminating statements in a police interview. The case had been reopened after Cosey's widow, Vicki Lemmon of Chambersburg, told her psychiatrist she believed Cosey was murdered.

The psychiatrist related her suspicions to a private investigator, who contacted state police, according to court records.

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