Suspect in South Huntington homicide wanted witness dead, police say
An Irwin man awaiting trial in a homicide case is accused of offering a fellow inmate at the Westmoreland County Prison $1,500 to kill a witness slated to testify against him.
Lee J. Atwood, 54, was charged on Thursday by state police in Belle Vernon with criminal solicitation and criminal conspiracy to commit murder.
Police allege Atwood repeatedly asked the inmate to kill a witness against him in the Aug. 12 shooting death of George R. “Moose” Williams, 46, of Yukon at a South Huntingdon home.
Atwood approached the unidentified inmate on more than one occasion during September to kill Adam Lilliock, who owns the home where the shooting took place, Trooper Thomas Hartley wrote in an affidavit of probable cause filed on Thursday before Hempfield District Judge Mark Mansour.
The “hitman” is identified only as a confidential informant in court documents.
According to Harley, Atwood offered the inmate “$750 ... to be paid in advance and $750 to be paid later.”
“Atwood drew several pictures of Lilliock's residence, maps of the surrounding area and directions to the house for the (informant) to use as a reference,” Hartley wrote. “(Atwood) also specifically requested that he wanted the confidential informant to put ‘two bullets in his head,' and that would ‘take care of the problem,' ” Hartley wrote.
Atwood described the interior of Lilliock's home and where the firearms were kept.
“Atwood also advised the confidential informant not to discuss their conversation with anyone,” the affidavit said.
Hartley could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Atwood has been held in the prison without bond since his arrest on the evening of Williams' murder.
On Sept. 11, Scottdale District Judge Chuck Moore ordered Atwood to stand trial for allegedly killing Williams during a confrontation at Lilliock's home while Atwood was attempting to collect a debt.
During a preliminary hearing, inmate David M. Weston, 26, testified Atwood said during a jailhouse talk that he had ruined his life because “I killed this rat.”
Weston testified that Atwood said he “got jumped” while trying to collect the debt but returned later, promising a “showdown.”
“He said he handled that,” Weston testified.
Weston, of Natrona Heights, is no longer being held in the prison while awaiting trial for trespassing and simple assault.
An autopsy showed that Williams was shot in the back with a shotgun.
State police later searched Atwood's home and seized eight shotguns, as well as ammunition, two firearms and a pocketknife from his vehicle.
Atwood, who has denied firing the fatal shots, is charged with first-degree homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. He is being held in the prison without bail.
Mansour scheduled Atwood's preliminary hearing on the attempted homicide charges for 10:45 a.m. Oct. 11.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Spirit Airlines lifts fortunes of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport
- Hempfield man dies in single-vehicle accident
- 2 Hempfield Area students charged with sexting
- Land costs for New Stanton turnpike interchange project reach $4.2M
- Murrysville woman apologizes for scholarship fund theft
- 4 Democrats seek 3 nods for Latrobe council
- Donors’ generosity allows Clairview School girls to get fancy for prom
- Hempfield bicyclist who brought rock, knives into court office charged
- Discord between Westmoreland commissioner, controller draws 2nd criminal inquiry
- Thief in top hat, accomplice take empty cash box in Greensburg heist
- Police seek public help with East Huntingdon store thefts