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Probe continues into Penn Township athlete's death at W&J

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Tim McNerney died as a result of being beaten in Washington on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012.
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Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Editor's note: The Valley News Dispatch is updating some of the stories that we covered in 2012. The series, “Whatever happened to ...?” will appear through the end of the year.

The death of Tim McNerney is still under investigation.

McNerney, 21, of Penn Township, Butler County, and a Washington & Jefferson College student and football standout, died during an apparent robbery Oct. 4 in Washington, Washington County.

McNerney set records at Knoch High School before attending college, where he was a senior business major.

He was well-liked and his death was followed by candlelight vigils at Knoch and other remembrances in Washington. Police said McNerney and roommate and fellow football player Zach DeCicco, 22, were confronted by a small group of people. DeCicco was punched in the nose and was able to run for help.

But McNerney was either shoved or tackled and hit his head on South College Street,

Washington police Chief Robert Lemons said.

He was assaulted at about 2:30 a.m. but his body wasn't found until later.

McNerney's wallet and cellphone have not been recovered.

In an Oct. 17 Tribune Review story, Detective Lt. Dan Stanek said DeCicco is not a person of interest in the case and has been cooperative.

He said the two were not targeted because they were students and there did not appear to be any pattern of students being singled out for attack.

Police initially thought more people were involved and someone had used a weapon to bludgeon McNerney.

But that theory evaporated by mid-October as the investigation proceeded, Lemons reiterated Friday.

At a mid-October press conference, police said the assailants may not have known right away how badly McNerney was injured in the assault.

Lemons declined to say if detectives now know the identities of others in the incident. He would only say that police “have been following every lead in the case” since McNerney died.

Police believe there were witnesses in addition to the men involved in the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call Washington police detectives at 724-223-4225.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or

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