Monessen man faces trial in murder case
A Monessen man accused of fatally shooting his mother's boyfriend was ordered Friday to stand trial in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court.
Christopher Allshouse, 40, stoically stared forward throughout his preliminary hearing on a criminal homicide charge before Magisterial District Judge Joseph Dalfonso in Monessen.
Allshouse is accused in the death of James Ritter, 54, of 126 Donner Ave. Allshouse and his mother, Linda Craig, also lived there.
Monessen patrolman James Franks testified that police were dispatched to the residence just after 11:30 p.m. Feb. 12 for a reported shooting.
“The victim was laying just at the bottom of the steps outside the front of the residence,” Franks told Westmoreland County Assistant District Attorney Tom Grace.
“I noticed there was some blood in the snow near the victim's head. He was laying on his back with his head cocked to the side. You could see blood coming from some sort of wound from the head.”
Ritter was shot with a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol registered to Allshouse, Monessen police Chief John Mandarino said.
Franks testified that when he arrived, Allshouse was in the doorway of the home.
Allshouse told Franks he was the shooter, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
“I placed him under arrest, patted him down and sat him on the couch,” Franks testified. “He was calm the entire time. I asked him where the gun was; he said it was on the kitchen table.”
In cross-examining Franks, defense attorney Donna McClelland focused on when Allshouse was informed of his Miranda rights to silence and legal representation and when he allegedly confessed to the shooting.
Ritter was pronounced dead at Monongahela Valley Hospital in Carroll Township. Dr. Todd Luckasevic, a forensic pathologist, performed an autopsy.
Grace read Luckasevic's report, which indicated Ritter has been shot four times: twice in the head, once in the lower chest and once in the left shoulder and arm.
“According to Dr. Luckasevic, James Ritter .... died of penetrating gunshot wounds to the head and trunk,” Grace said.
Police allege the shooting occurred following an argument about drugs and about Allshouse entering drug rehabilitation treatment.
Craig allegedly gave police a written statement saying that she heard several loud popping noises that night.
When she came downstairs and asked Allshouse what was going on, he allegedly told her that he had shot Ritter, the affidavit states.
Allshouse allegedly told police he consumed several beers prior to the shooting.
Allshouse was returned to the Westmoreland County Prison in Hempfield Township, where he is being held without bond.
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2667.
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.
- Youngwood man’s crash knocks out power in Monessen
- Trial to begin Monday in Rostraver home invasion
- Man with Donora roots promoted to Air Force colonel
- California, Pa. native John Messana hit high notes in opera, culinary roles
- Ringgold students earn Westinghouse science honor
- River traffic resumes on Mon
- No charges in Rostraver dog case
- Mon City man accused of stabbing girlfriend
- Brownsville museum a hidden gem
- Former Rostraver resident retires after 26 years of service to country
- Many in Mon Valley made news as area prepared for past holidays