Butler DA’s office says it has identified man’s remains
By Bill Vidonic
Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 11:42 a.m.
Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Authorities used a dental mold to identify the remains of a Butler County man they believe his son murdered a year ago, a defense attorney said Tuesday during a court hearing.
Wendy L. Williams, representing Colin Abbott, 41, said Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Simon faxed a letter to her office Monday confirming the identification of Kenneth Abbott, 65.
The development appears to make Williams' job more difficult. In court documents, she repeatedly asked Butler County Judge William Shaffer to dismiss first-degree murder and related charges against Abbott because authorities lacked definitive proof that his father was dead or murdered.
A copy of Simon's letter was not contained in court filings and attorneys for both sides declined comment, citing a gag order. Colin Abbott, who remains in the Butler County Jail, attended the hearing but did not speak. He faces the death penalty.
On July 13, 2011, police found the dismembered and burned remains of Kenneth Abbott and his wife, Celeste, 55, on their multimillion-dollar estate in Brady in Butler County.
The Abbotts last contacted anyone on June 6, 2011, police said. Several days later, Colin Abbott told his family that his parents died in a fiery car crash in New Jersey, investigators said.
In a July 26 court filing, Williams wrote that prosecutors said a doctor was comparing teeth found at the crime scene to a dental mold that Slippery Rock dentist Dr. David Gordley recently made, though she did not say whether that was for Kenneth Abbott's teeth. Authorities identified Celeste Abbott's remains last year.
Though attorneys had expected Abbott's trial to begin in October, Simon said prosecutors would be willing to wait until January to give the defense time to prepare.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
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