Share This Page

Somerset man held when body discovered

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

A Somerset man panicked when he found a friend dead in his apartment, dragged the body outside and into a pickup truck, then abandoned the vehicle in the borough, police said.

Michael T. Moore, 37, was charged by state police Sunday after Frankie Allen Sass, 53, of Friedens, was found dead in his black Ford F-150.

Police began to investigate Sass' disappearance on Jan. 24. Moore and his girlfriend, Angela Hutzell, found Sass dead at Moore's 205 Stoystown Road apartment the day before, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper Joseph Drzal.

Sass was a known drug user and had disappeared in the past, police said.

Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller said the cause of death is pending toxicology results, but the death is not suspicious.

In an interview with police, Hutzell said she and Moore “panicked and began to drag (Sass) out of the apartment and down the steps” before contacting another friend, George Bittinger, for help, according to the affidavit.

Bittinger told police he helped Moore lift Sass, who weighed about 350 pounds, into the pickup truck and Moore allegedly threatened Bittinger not to tell anyone.

According to the affidavit, Hutzell and Moore allegedly drove the truck with Sass inside and parked it nearby. After they wiped down the truck, threw the keys inside and locked the doors, they walked back to their apartment.

Bittinger and Hutzell have not been charged.

Neither the county district attorney nor Drzal could be reached for comment Tuesday.

Moore faces charges of terroristic threats, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and intimidation of a witness.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 5 before District Judge Kenneth Johnson. Moore remains in the Somerset County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Moore pleaded guilty in Somerset County court on Friday to tampering with physical evidence in a February 2012 case. A bench warrant was issued Monday and his bond was revoked.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@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.