Trial ordered for Butler man accused of slaying Leechburg contractor and his girlfriend
The daughter of a Forest County woman who was stabbed to death last month near Tionesta testified on Tuesday the suspect was at her mother's home just hours before he returned to the residence and engaged in a physical altercation that ended in the deaths of the woman and her boyfriend of Leechburg.
Scott Allan Black, 38, of Butler was held for court on Tuesday on charges he stabbed and killed Marcelle Edwards, 42, of Green Township and her boyfriend, Donald Shay, 43, of Leechburg. The incident at Edwards' mobile home occurred in the early hours of April 27.
District Judge George Gregory ordered Black held for court on two counts each of criminal homicide and aggravated assault. New charges were added against Black — burglary and possessing an instrument of crime.
Black looked red-faced and distraught as he was led into the courtroom. He appeared to be holding back tears as he looked over his shoulder and scanned the courtroom before the hearing.
Many of the more-than-dozen spectators at the hearing also fought back tears as 15-year-old Alaina Haffey, Edwards' daughter, testified to what she saw late April 26 and early April 27 at the home she shared with her mother.
Haffey testified that her mother and Black had dated for about four years and were engaged to be married this August but that her mother broke off the relationship with Black “about a year ago.” She said Black had lived with her mother at the Green Township home for about four years before the relationship ended.
Haffey testified that he had known her mother's new boyfriend, Shay, for about a month before the incident occurred. She said Shay visited often, taking her and her mother fishing and to his nearby Forest County camp.
Haffey testified that Black “showed up in his truck and barged into the house” late in the evening of April 26.
She said Black was angry and was telling Edwards “Just shoot me, shoot me.” She said her mother asked Black to leave, “But he wouldn't listen, so she pushed him out the door.”
Upon cross-examination, Haffey said her mother owned a gun but never used it, and said it was “under lock and key” in her mother's bedroom.
Haffey testified she called 911 to report a case of criminal trespass and told the operator that Black “was not welcome here.”
Marienville state police trooper Jason Wagner testified that police responded but that Black had left by the time they arrived later that evening.
‘Screaming and stomping'
Haffey said she later fell asleep on a couch and awoke to sounds of “screaming and stomping.”
She testified that she saw Black, Shay and her mother in the kitchen where Black and Shay were fighting.
“Mom was screaming ‘Scott, stop!” Haffey said.
Haffey said she got up and attacked Black, hitting him in the face, but was restrained by Shay. Haffey said she started to leave.
She testified that as she was leaving, she saw Black standing over Shay with a knife raised over his head. Haffey ran to her grandmother's house “across the yard” and told her grandmother to call 911.
“I said, ‘Scott's got a knife — call 911!' ” Haffey said. “And she did.”
Upon cross-examination, Haffey told Black's attorney, public defender Todd Allen Woodin, that her mother and Black had been engaged about a year ago, but said her mother broke the relationship off when “(Black) stopped doing things for us.”
Haffey said she had no contact with Black after her mother ended the relationship, but said Black would text her mother and “harass her. She wouldn't reply, but he kept texting her.
“One message said: ‘I want to hurt you, and it makes me want to scream,' ” Haffey said.
Haffey also said her mother received a letter from Black about a day prior to the incident stating that Black was going to kill Edwards. Haffey said she didn't read the letter, but said, “I knew (Black) threatened to kill (my mother) because she told me so.”
Woodin asked as to whether Haffey could testify whether Black was an alcoholic, to which the witness said, “(Black) relied on it (alcohol).” She also testified to seeing Black use marijuana “two or three times.”
When Woodin asked if Black was drunk the morning of April 27 when he returned to the home, Haffey said no, but said he had been drinking because she could “smell it on him.”
She also testified that she believed her mother and Shay had been drinking the evening of April 26, again saying she smelled alcohol on them. Haffey said her mother had “one beer” after she and Shay got home and said Shay didn't drink alcohol after arriving at the trailer.
Haffey testified that Black “acted like a (expletive)” when he drank on previous occasions in her presence.
Stabbed more than 20 times
Forest County Coroner Norman J. Wimer testified that Edwards died from a stab wound to her lower neck, and also showed signs of defensive injuries.
Wimer said Shay was stabbed more than 20 times, mostly in the back.
Trooper Wagner testified that police responded to the grandmother's call around 1:20 a.m. April 27.
Wagner said he “observed a large blood smear on the front of the trailer and a deceased male slumped against the front door.”
Wagner testified that investigators found a knife with a wood-grain handle with “droplets of blood” on it.
He said two knife sheaths were also recovered, including one along Holly Acres Road near the home, and another outside a travel trailer owned by Black.
Black was apprehended a short time later.
Wagner testified that Black told police in a recorded interview he had been at Edwards' house “the first time”; he said he went back but then asked to speak to a lawyer.
Wagner said Black's pants had “what appeared to be blood” on the thigh.
Wagner also noted that Black had several minor injuries, including red irritation around the neck, small cuts on both wrists and a bruised shin.
Black was returned to Warren County Jail without bail following the hearing.
Jeremy Johnson is a staff writer with the Oil City Derrick. Questions regarding this story should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-226-4666.