Murder of Leechburg man and girlfriend draws double life sentence
Scott A. Black started life in state prison Wednesday.
Black, 38, was driven from the Forest County jail to the state prison in Pittsburgh, where he will be held temporarily before officials decide where he ultimately will spent the rest of his life for killing a Leechburg man and a woman in Forest County last April.
Rather than go to trial in March, Black, of Butler pleaded guilty Feb. 12 to fatally stabbing Donald L. Shay, 43, of Leechburg and Marcelle I. Edwards, 42, at her home in Green Township, Forest County. The area is on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest, a few miles east of Tionesta.
Shay died of multiple stab wounds and was found on the porch of Edwards' mobile home. Edwards died of a single throat wound; she was in the kitchen.
Forest County Judge Maureen A. Skerda immediately sentenced Black to two life sentences without parole, the county clerk said.
Forest County District Attorney Elizabeth Zieglar had chosen not to seek the death penalty for Black.
A state Corrections Department spokeswoman said Black will wait at the state penitentiary in Pittsburgh until there are enough inmates to transport to the state prison in Camp Hill, near Harrisburg, where the diagnostic and classification center decides where men are incarcerated.
Black admitted attacking the couple at about 1 a.m. last April 27, according to the Forest County clerk of courts.
Black had once been engaged to Edwards.
Forest County Sheriff Robert L. Wolfgang said Black took responsibility for the homicides and apologized to their families.
“He said he wished he could take it back but he knew that he couldn't,” Wolfgang said Wednesday.
“The judge said there is no possibility of parole,” Wolfgang said.
Trial was scheduled for March 5, but Black instead entered guilty pleas to both homicides.
Court appointed defense attorney Fred D. Hummel Jr. declined to comment.
The Shay family owned a camp near Tionesta and that is how he met Edwards. Shay served in the Army during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and was a carpenter by trade. He also was active in the Buffalo Township Emergency Medical Service.
The family didn't return calls for comment.
Edwards worked part time as a waitress at the Hunters Station Golf Course and Restaurant near Tionesta.
Officials believe Black spent the winter of 2013 in the Butler area but had been staying in the weeks leading to the homicides in a pop-up trailer a few miles from Edwards' trailer.
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Highlands Area Meals on Wheels recovers from burst water pipe
- Harmar-based company’s expansion into Tarentum adds jobs
- Harrison fire victim helps others while on road to recovery
- Expenses rise, taxes hold in West Deer
- 4 plead guilty to charges of luring, beating man at Harrison gas station
- 3 charged in East Deer home invasion
- Authorities investigating grocery store robberies in Plum, Monroeville
- Butler County initiative aims to find employment for struggling job-seekers
- Return of Verona’s Doughboy statue delayed
- Hays ‘eagle cams’ reinstalled for 2015 nesting season