Accused Southwest Greensburg killer was convicted of '76 rape

| Saturday, July 17, 2010

On a fall night in 1976, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania music major was practicing the piano at Cogswell Hall, unaware of the life-changing encounter ahead of her.

Walking alone the two blocks between the music room and her dorm, the 18-year-old met Richard A. McAnulty -- the man who is charged with criminal homicide in the shooting death Sunday of Harry A. Mears III, 39, in Southwest Greensburg.

At gunpoint, McAnulty kidnapped and raped the coed the night of Oct. 19, 1976, an Indiana County jury determined in 1977, after deliberating less than two hours. He served nearly three years in SCI-Huntingdon before being paroled on Oct. 1, 1981, according to state Department of Corrections records.

Now, nearly 28 years after his release, McAnulty, 54, of Center Township, Indiana County, is facing trial again.

Authorities allege he argued with his wife over an e-mail on Sunday, ordered her out of the house and then drove in his pickup truck to a quiet residential area in Southwest Greensburg.

A .44 Magnum in hand, McAnulty broke down the door at 615 Oakland Ave. and shot and killed Mears, police said. One shot from the high-powered gun hit Mears inside the home, and two others struck him outside as he tried to escape, investigators said.

Mears, an IUP computer science graduate, made a living selling items on eBay. He met his accused killer's wife, Carolyn Diane McAnulty, 54, who works at IUP, on the Internet a while ago, police said. They had an affair that ended about a year ago, investigators said. Police have seized the computers from the McAnulty and Mears residences.

Retired attorney Philip C. Ursu represented McAnulty in 1977.

Now living in Lawrence County, Ursu said he couldn't remember the rape case, but he does recall a 1990s civil case in which he served as McAnulty's attorney. He said he recognized McAnulty immediately when he saw a TV broadcast about the shooting.

"I was shocked," said Ursu, 68. "You feel sorry for the victim and the tragedy that comes down on both sides."

During the 1977 trial, the IUP coed testified that McAnulty approached her in an Oldsmobile Omega as she headed to her room at Shafer Hall. She said he asked her a question, which she didn't understand, according to a trial transcript.

As she stepped near his vehicle, he pointed a 16-gauge shotgun with an 18-inch barrel at her and said, "'Get in the car,'" she said.

McAnulty took her to an isolated, dead-end road about two miles outside Indiana Borough where he raped her in the darkness, the weapon nearby, according to police.

"He kept saying, "'Don't make me mad,'" the student recalled.

"Now, will you tell the judge and the court why you submitted to these sexual acts?" former prosecutor Thomas Malcolm asked the victim.

"I was afraid I would be killed," she replied.

Afterward, McAnulty drove back toward campus, let her out and turned off his headlights as he drove away, she testified. She then sought medical treatment.

In the courtroom, she identified 21-year-old McAnulty as her attacker.

McAnulty claimed that the sex was consensual. He testified that he denied the encounter when police first questioned him because he didn't want his wife to know about it.

McAnulty and the former Carolyn Diane McCullough were married in 1974. Both were 18 and recent graduates of Homer City High School. She filed for divorce in 1982, saying the marriage was "irretrievably broken," and was granted a divorce that year. A year later, when both were 27, the couple remarried in Homer City.

Richard McAnulty stated on his 1983 marriage certificate that he was working as a carpenter and his wife as a secretary. He was serving in the Navy at the time of the first marriage and later worked as a coal miner. During the 1977 trial, McAnulty testified that he was on worker's compensation because of a back injury.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.


Show commenting policy