Share This Page

2 teens still on the loose in Beaver Falls killing

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 12:12 a.m.
Todavia Cleckley, 14, was charged with conspiracy in Saturday's shooting of Kayla Peterson, 22, in Beaver Falls. Police charged Marcus Velasquez, 14, with criminal homicide and other charges and also charged Kyle Goosby Jr., 13, with conspirary in the case, and took Goosby into custody Monday. Peterson was shot at a house about 3:30 p.m. and died in a Pittsburgh hospital two hours later.
Police charged Marcus Velasquez, 14, with criminal homicide and other charges in Saturday's shooting of Kayla Peterson, 22, in Beaver Falls. Police also charged Todavia Cleckley, 14, and Kyle Goosby Jr., 13, with conspirary in the case, and took Goosby into custody Monday. Peterson was shot at a house about 3:30 p.m. and died in a Pittsburgh hospital two hours later.
Kayla Peterson and her baby, Elieonna.

Two Beaver Falls teens wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of a young mother remained on the run Tuesday, investigators said.

“The police have checked with family members, known associates and went through the school to find their friends,” Beaver County District Attorney Anthony Berosh said. Marcus Velasquez and Todavia Cleckley, both 14 of Beaver Falls were the subjects. “So far, they haven't turned up.”

Beaver Falls police charged Velasquez with homicide and other crimes in the death Saturday of Kayla Peterson, 22, of Beaver Falls. Police charged Cleckley and Kyle Goosby Jr., 13, with conspiracy. Authorities arrested Goosby on Monday.

Police say Velasquez shot Peterson when she told him to get a job and stop trying to bum cigarettes outside her home on 13th Street. Police said the boys followed her fiance, William Bailey, home from J's News and yelled at him for cigarettes before she challenged them.

She left behind the daughter, 1, she had with Bailey.

“You'd think if they're only kids, they would be in custody,” said Peterson's stepfather, Wesley Chapman, 50, of New Sewickley. “Somebody is hiding them out in town.”

Defense attorneys not involved said family members often help suspects stay out of sight, at least until they can find legal help. Members of the Cleckley and Velasquez families could not be reached.

“In my experience, it's generally the ones closest to you that stick their necks out for you,” said Attorney Blaine Jones, who has represented clients in Beaver County, including members of the Cleckley family.

“In lower-income areas, the kids grow up a lot faster,” Jones said. “They don't have the means to get out of town. They don't have ways to circumvent law enforcement without help.”

About 26.2 percent of Beaver Falls' population lives below the poverty level, compared with 12.6 percent of the state's population, according to the Census Bureau.

Attorney Phillip DiLucente said it's better for the teens if they surrender.

“When you're dealing with children in particular, they may not even recognize mentally what has really happened,” DiLucente said. “The trigger person knew at least what their intent was, but the persons with him may not. They're probably scared. They're probably determined to stay on the lam, but it's best if they turn themselves in.”

Berosh said someone updated Cleckley's Facebook page to include a photo that appears to be the suspect brandishing guns the day after the shooting. Police said they used Facebook as part of their investigation, but an unidentified witness said Velasquez was the shooter and Cleckley was the boy with him who fled, according to the criminal complaint.

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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.