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Fulton County man charged with trying to hire hit man waives hearing

April 16, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A Fulton County man charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill a man he previously had been charged with shooting waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday in Franklin County Central Court, while his father and girlfriend have been granted continuances on related charges.

Gregory Aaron Rouzer, 40, of 1291 Possum Hollow Road in Harrisonville, Pa., is next scheduled to appear in court for mandatory arraignment May 28, said his attorney, Eric Weisbrod.

Rouzer is charged with criminal solicitation to commit homicide and criminal conspiracy to commit homicide, according to the criminal complaint.

A Franklin County Jail inmate, monitored telephone calls and an undercover trooper posing as a hired killer were used in the Pennsylvania State Police investigation that resulted in charges being filed against Rouzer, his 80-year-old father, Kenneth Vernon Rouzer of Harrisonville, and Mildred J. Tressler, 46, of 10238 Reeder Road in Mercersburg, Pa.

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Gregory Rouzer already was in jail on $1 million bond after he was charged with the attempted homicide of Randolph Walters, who was shot outside his Sipes Mill Road home in Fulton County on the morning of Feb. 7. Police said Walters' girlfriend saw Rouzer on the property and Walters went outside armed with a shotgun.

Walters confronted Rouzer, who said "Shhh, I'm waiting for you," and shot Walters in the elbow, upper arm and neck with a .22-caliber rifle, police said. Rouzer was apprehended Feb. 15 when police received information that he was going to Chambersburg Hospital and he was found hiding under a blanket in a van driven by Tressler.

After Rouzer was jailed, police received a letter from an inmate who had struck up a friendship with him, police said. The inmate was placed in Rouzer's cell, and on March 12 told police that Rouzer asked if he knew anyone who could keep Walters from testifying against him.

The informant told Rouzer he knew someone who could kill Walters, police said. Rouzer provided the inmate with a map of Walters' home and details about his schedule, police said.

Rouzer also gave the inmate maps to his home and that of his father, and said $1,000 would be left with a candy tin for the killer. The tin would contain drugs "that he wanted scattered around ... to make it appear that the killing was drug-related," the affidavit stated.

Police said the undercover trooper picked up the container March 21.

From monitored calls between Gregory Rouzer and Tressler, police learned Tressler met with the undercover trooper, who had "questions about the job," police said. They discussed the candy container, and she told Rouzer "the antiques left inside were handled with gloves."

Police also charged Tressler with hindering apprehension because she knew Gregory Rouzer's whereabouts before his arrest while telling police otherwise, according to the criminal complaint.

Kenneth Rouzer was charged with delivery of a controlled substance, police said. Monitoring calls between the father and son, police said Gregory Rouzer discussed getting 1,100 "bales of hay" to "finish things out."

Rouzer told his father to put 100 "bales" in a "small tin shed" and the rest outside the shed, police said. He also told his father to expect a call from "a guy" and to get the man's number so the son could return the call.

Some days after the undercover trooper picked up the money from the porch of Kenneth Rouzer's home, police said he called Gregory Rouzer at the jail and told him the intended target was not home. Rouzer called his father and told him to check the house and call back.

Kenneth Rouzer's vehicle subsequently was seen going past Walters' home, turning around and passing by again, police said.

Weisbrod said Rouzer's attempted murder case in Fulton County is being handled separately by another attorney.

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