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Police seek clues in Bull murder, serve 7 search warrants

April 27, 2000|By DON AINES

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Seven search warrants have been issued as a result of the investigation into the murder of Shippensburg University student Sydney Bull, Cumberland County District Attorney Skip Ebert said Thursday.

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"My office issued a series of search warrants based on information received" since the investigation began, Ebert said during a briefing for students and the media in the Old Main Chapel. Three assistant district attorneys from his office had been reviewing search warrants petitions, he said.

Ebert said he could not give out specifics about the warrants, but they could cover homes, vehicles and "other things."

"There are a number of people under consideration that we want to take a look at," Ebert said. "I think there are viable leads available and I'm hoping for an arrest."

Bull, 23, of 20 Britton Road, was shot in the head and his body burned Monday night or early Tuesday.

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The body of the senior marketing major from Norristown, Pa., was discovered after firefighters responded to a mountain fire off Hogshead Road in the Michaux State Forest in South Newton Township.

"I have won five death penalty cases and will pursue that if the circumstances dictate," Ebert said.

He said the evidence leaves "no question" it was a first-degree murder, which could result in a life sentence or death penalty for the person or people who killed Bull.

Ebert placed the time of death between 10 p.m. Monday and shortly before 1:30 a.m., when the body was discovered. The firefighters found Bull's body while putting out hot spots at the fire, which burned about an acre of land.

Ebert said the body was found near "The Wall," an area frequented by students and other young people.

One student complained that the crime scene was no longer secured and students were driving up there, but Ebert said it had been "gone over with a fine-tooth comb."

Pennsylvania State Police have a temporary command post on the campus. Ebert and University President Anthony F. Ceddia said dozens of officers have been conducting interviews to find out what happened in the last hours of Bull's life.

Ceddia announced Wednesday a $10,000 reward was being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer or killers.

Ebert would not reveal when Bull was last seen alive and said he did not know how many students had been interviewed.

He reiterated statements by state police Wednesday that there was no evidence indicating the death of the black student was racially motivated. A hate crime, however, had not been ruled out, he said.

There was no known motive for the crime, he said. Ebert said the arrest of five university students on drug charges was not related to the murder.

"These (drug) warrants were actually approved on April 14," he said, adding they were part of an investigation that began last fall.

Ceddia said Bull's parents had arrived at campus Thursday from Texas and California and a memorial service is planned for Monday at 3:30 p.m.

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