Pa. cops - Man kills woman, himself

October 17, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Chambersburg police discovered the body of a woman in the basement of her North Franklin Street home Sunday night after a man shot himself inside the house when police went to investigate a report of a burglary in progress.

Police believe Donna M. Finkbeiner, 57, of 327 N. Franklin St., was killed several hours before Victor A. Lippy, 46, formerly of the same address, killed himself, Detective Sgt. Dianne Kelso said.

The murder-suicide was the third in Franklin County since July 28. It was the first murder in Chambersburg since a Jan. 1, 2002, stabbing, Kelso said.

The suspected burglary was called in at 7:04 p.m. and police arrived three minutes later. While investigating outside, officers saw someone inside and one of the officers recognized Lippy, who had a long criminal record, Kelso said.


The officer called for Lippy to come out and police heard a gunshot "within seconds," Kelso said. She estimated Lippy killed himself within 10 to 15 minutes of the initial call.

Finkbeiner's body was found in the basement with signs of multiple blunt force trauma, police said. Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner said the cause of death for both Lippy and Finkbeiner will not be released until after an autopsy today at Lehigh Valley Medical Center in Allentown, Pa.

Police said Lippy and Finkbeiner had been involved in a relationship for several years, but he recently rented at room at Carson's Motel, 414 W. Loudon St.

"It is believed that Finkbeiner had asked him to move out," the police report said.

Lippy apparently had tried to clean up or disguise the scene after putting Finkbeiner's body in the basement.

"Furniture had been moved. There were things he manipulated ... in an attempt to cover up where the assault had taken place," Kelso said.

Kelso said she could not verify whether Lippy killed himself with a gun registered to Finkbeiner.

"They were both good people, except when he was drinking," next-door-neighbor Sergio Gonzalez said Monday morning. "I think it was a matter of time before he snapped."

"There were so many fights, so many things before," Gonzalez said.

Finkbeiner tried to convince Lippy to get help for his drinking, he said.

"My sister tried to get him to go to church," said neighbor Bobby Rideout.

Two women who went into Finkbeiner's house Monday morning declined to answer questions.

Lippy was charged with driving under the influence Tuesday, Oct. 10, according to borough police. He struck a parked car at Carson's Motel, police said.

Pennsylvania State Police in Cumberland County charged Lippy with driving under the influence Oct. 7 in Southampton Township.

Those were the latest run-ins with the law for Lippy, whose criminal record dates to 1978, according to Franklin County Court records.

A partial list of convictions includes burglary, forgery, theft and driving under the influence. He was sentenced to state prison for 11 months to two years in 1987 for indecent assault and 15 months to five years for delivery of a controlled substance in 1995, court records stated.

Since 1994, as far back as county prison computerized records go, Lippy was jailed 13 times, according to a prison official. Several times, he was jailed for violating probation, the official said.

Two protection from abuse orders also had been issued against Lippy, neither of them by Finkbeiner, according to court records. In both cases, the women stated in their petitions that Lippy broke into their homes and threatened to kill them.

One woman's petition stated Lippy broke into her home twice in August 2003, raping her and threatening to kill her both times. The woman also wrote that Lippy called her as many as 20 times a day making threats and attempted to strangle her in December 2002.

In February 2002, another woman petitioned for and received a protection from abuse order. Lippy "broke into my mother's house and threatened that if he couldn't have me, no one would," the woman wrote.

The petition included an excerpt from a letter purportedly written to her by Lippy:

"I love you baby and if I can't have you, I no (sic) for dam (sic) sure no one else will over my dead body."

Both court orders granting the protection orders contained handwritten notes stating that Lippy denied the allegations, but it was unclear who wrote those notes.

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