Pa. man enters not guilty plea in wife's slaying

April 24, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Guilford Township, Pa., man pleaded innocent Wednesday to killing his estranged wife.

No trial date was set for Bruce Forsythe Sr., 53, who is charged in the Nov. 24 shooting death of Joanna Rae Plummer, 32.

Plummer was shot outside the couple's Molly Pitcher Highway home after an argument about her relationship with another man.

The couple had been married for about five years, but at some point she moved out and began using her maiden name, family said previously.

Less than two weeks before her death, she had taken out a protection from abuse order against Forsythe, which barred him from contacting her.


Forsythe, who has been in Franklin County Prison since the shooting, did not appear in court.

He signed paperwork to enter his not guilty plea in Franklin County Court, Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom said.

Plummer's mother, Jane Plummer, sat in the courtroom wearing a button with her daughter's picture.

Court officials explained the proceedings to her.

She declined a request for an interview.

Joanna Rae Plummer was a 1988 graduate of North Hagerstown High School.

She had a bachelor's degree in geography-environmental planning and a master's degree in geoenvironmental studies. She worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Authorities learned about the death through a 911 call from a man who claimed he had shot his wife.

When officers got to the house, they found Forsythe outside, Plummer unresponsive on the ground and a .22-caliber revolver on the hood of a nearby Ford Bronco, a Pennsylvania State Police trooper testified at a hearing last month.

Police said it appeared she was kneeling when she was shot by someone standing above and behind her. She was shot in the head and chest.

Forsythe's next court date will be in July, when a trial date could be set.

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