Sellers' trial delayed until March in Franklin County

December 28, 2001

Sellers' trial delayed until March in Franklin County


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The trial of Sally A. Sellers, one of two women charged in the murder of a veteran's post commander during a botched robbery attempt last year, has been postponed to March due to the court's schedule.

Sellers was listed for the January trial term, but there was no free week in the court schedule to accommodate the trial, Assistant District Attorney T.R. Williams said.

Williams said he has decided not to seek the death penalty in the case because the evidence indicated co-defendant Jonna Johnson, 34, was the trigger woman.

Johnson was convicted of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of criminal attempt homicide last month in Franklin County Court. She faced the death penalty, but a jury could not reach a unanimous decision so she was automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole, under state law.


"(Sellers') case is also much more involved with respect to proof, and we have to focus on the conviction," Williams said.

Sellers was charged with criminal homicide, criminal conspiracy to commit homicide, criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery and two counts of criminal attempt homicide in August, following more than a year of investigation.

Sellers, 31, of 2375 Appleway, St. Thomas, Pa., pleaded not guilty to the charges during her arraignment in November.

Police believe Sellers and Johnson together devised a plan to rob the Vietnam Veteran's Club Post in Chambersburg on June 11, 2000.

Their attempt left the post's vice commander Robert Tucker dead from a gunshot wound and employees Kimberly Bigler and William Groff seriously wounded by gunshots.

Johnson confessed to the shootings but later tried to convince police that Sellers entered the club after it closed and shot Groff and Bigler while standing behind her.

Both women were members of the post and involved in a romantic relationship. They were planning to rob the post after closing and buy a mobile home together, according to court records.

The plan backfired when Tucker fled the building from the rear door after seeing Johnson shoot Bigler and Groff.

Williams said during Sellers' preliminary hearing in September that she was waiting behind the club and detained Tucker long enough for Johnson to leave through the front door and run to the back and shoot him.

However, because the post had closed for the night, both women were locked outside and unable to retrieve Johnson's belongings or the cash.

The gun used in the shootings, a .38 caliber Taurus Ultra-Lite Special, was registered to Sellers' husband, according to court records.

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