| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Somerset man who left dead body apologizes to victim's kin

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, April 12, 2013, 10:30 p.m.

A Somerset County man apologized Friday to the family of a 53-year-old Friedens man whose body he moved out of his apartment and abandoned in a truck after the victim fatally overdosed last Jan. 23.

Michael T. Moore, 37, also of Friedens, made his apology to the family of Frankie A. Sass shortly after he waived a preliminary hearing Friday before District Judge Kenneth Johnson on charges of making terroristic threats, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and intimidation of a witness.

Under a tentative plea bargain, Moore will plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge of abuse of a corpse and face a potential penalty of up to two years in prison when he is formally sentenced by Common Pleas Court Judge John Cascio later this spring, public defender William Carroll said.

“I want to apologize for my actions and I wish I could change them. I'm truly sorry,” Moore said.

“You'll remain in my prayers,” he added.

State police in Somerset accuse Moore of dragging Frankie A. Sass, who weighed 350 pounds, out of Moore's Stoystown Road apartment and into Sass' pickup truck after Moore's girlfriend, Angela Hutzell, discovered him dead there of a drug overdose.

Moore is accused of then calling another friend, George Bittinger, to assist him. Moore then drove Sass' pickup truck to another area of the borough, wiped his prints from the truck and abandoned the body there, witnesses told police.

Sass's body was discovered the next day. Neither Bittinger nor Hutzell was charged.

Carroll said his client decided to accept the plea deal to put the incident behind him.

On Thursday, Carroll said Moore was sentenced by Cascio to serve a four- to 23-month sentence following his guilty plea to tampering with evidence in an unrelated case.

In that case, Moore is accused of flushing quantities of marijuana and cocaine down a toilet as police were searching his apartment during a drug raid on Feb. 13, 2012.

Johnson denied a request to reduce Moore's bond from $30,000 while he awaits sentencing in the recent case. He remains in the Somerset County Jail.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Somerset

  1. Somerset man killed in head-on collision of 2 trucks