Parents of murder victim Mears sue mistress, his killer

Paul Peirce
| Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012

The parents of a Westmoreland County man brutally slain by a jealous husband in 2010 have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against their late son's mistress and his killer.

Lois and Harry Mears Jr. are the parents of Harry Mears III, 39, who was gunned down July 11, 2010, at his Southwest Greensburg home by Richard McAnulty, 56, of Indiana County. The lawsuit alleges McAnulty should not have been able to possess the .44-caliber Ruger handgun that he used to kill their son because of a 1977 conviction for kidnapping and raping an Indiana University of Pennsylvania student.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in Westmoreland County, alleges that McAnulty's wife, Carolyn Diane McAnulty, knew her husband was prohibited from owning firearms and purchased weapons for him.

In July, a jury took just 2 12 hours to convict McAnulty of first-degree murder in Mears' death. McAnulty is serving a mandatory life sentence.

The lawsuit seeks in excess of $150,000 in damages plus expenses for Mears' funeral and burial and "for the loss of contributions (Mears) would have made to the plaintiffs beginning at the time of his death until the end of his natural life expectancy."

Attempts to contact Carolyn McAnulty for comment on Friday at her home in Center Township, near Homer City, were unsuccessful.

A year before the murder, Mears had an affair with McAnulty's wife, who is known as Diane, according to testimony.

"On or about Jan. 27, 2000, defendant, Carolyn D. McAnulty, while she was married to ... defendant, Richard A. McAnulty, purchased a .44-caliber Ruger handgun from Joe's Guns and Ammo, located at 38 North Fifth St., Indiana, Pa.," says the 21-page lawsuit filed by the victim's cousin, Scott Mears, a Greensburg attorney.

The lawsuit alleges Carolyn McAnulty, 55, who attended every day of the trial and wept when jurors returned a guilty verdict, also purchased an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle for her husband.

According to trial testimony, McAnulty took the rifle the day that he drove to Southwest Greensburg to kill Mears.

Carolyn McAnulty "allowed said rifle to remain in an unsecured area often and in plain view and permitted the defendant, Richard A. McAnulty, to have unrestricted use of and access to said rifle," the lawsuit states.

District Attorney John Peck told jurors that McAnulty and his wife argued over her affair. Richard McAnulty drove more than 30 miles from his Indiana County home and broke down the door to Mears' home.

Testimony indicated McAnulty shot Mears in a leg as he dove out a second-floor window. Mears rolled onto a porch roof and fell to the ground. Horrified neighbors testified that McAnulty walked to where Mears was lying, stood over him as he pleaded for his life and shot him twice more.

The lawsuit alleges that Carolyn NcAnulty was negligent "in representing to the dealer of said firearms that she was the actual buyer of the firearms on applications of sale when she knew or should have known that the ultimate intended user, Richard A. McAnulty, was ... not permitted to own, possess or carry a firearm in Pennsylvania."

Although it is a crime in Pennsylvania for a person to knowingly purchase a firearm for a person who is not qualified to possess a firearm, Carolyn McAnulty was not charged.

Jurors convicted her husband of illegally possessing a firearm. In addition to his mandatory life term, Judge Debra Pezze sentenced him to a consecutive five- to 10-year sentence for the weapons conviction.

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