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Woman accused in shooting to stand trial in May

March 06, 2002|BY STACEY DANZUSO

By STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A St. Thomas, Pa., woman charged in connection with the 2000 slaying of a veterans post commander will go to trial in May.

Jury selection is to begin May 13, and the trial of Sally A. Sellers is expected to begin May 16 and last five days, according to the Franklin County District Attorney's office.

Sellers is charged with criminal homicide, criminal conspiracy to commit homicide, criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery and two counts of criminal attempted homicide.

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She was not charged until last August, following more than a year of investigation into the June 11, 2000, shootings at the Veterans of Vietnam War Post 41 in Chambersburg.

Police have said that Sellers and co-defendant Jonna M. Johnson were attempting to rob the club and in the process, fatally shot Robert Tucker, of Chambersburg, Pa., and wounded employees Kimberly Bigler and William Groff, both of Fayetteville, Pa.

Johnson was convicted of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of criminal attempted homicide in November. Under state law she was automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole after a jury deadlocked on whether to impose the death penalty.

Assistant District Attorney T.R. Williams said he will not seek the death penalty in Sellers' case.

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

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 it closed and buy a mobile home together, according to court records.

The plan backfired when Tucker fled the building through the rear door after seeing Johnson shoot Bigler and Groff, court records show.

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.

Because the post had closed for the night, however, both women were locked outside and were 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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