New Kensington cop killer’s cousin charged with stashing murder weapon
Just four days after Rahmael Holt was sentenced to death for the Nov. 17, 2017, killing of New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw, Westmoreland County detectives charged his cousin, Lisa D. Harrington, with hiding the murder weapon and hindering apprehension.
Assistant District Attorney James Lazar said the decision to charge Harrington, 33, of Arnold was made after listening to sworn testimony from acquaintances of Holt’s during his trial this month.
Michael Luffey and Holly Clemmons, a couple who was living with Holt’s girlfriend, Taylor Mitchell, and Mitchell’s mother, Lakita Cain, testified that the night of the shooting Holt came to their house.
Both testified Holt left and never returned, but both testified Harrington came back and removed a paper bag that they believed contained the murder weapon.
“We had some witness statements about concealing the murder weapon before, but never thought it was enough to charge. But the statements at trial were pretty convincing … enough that we believe we can prosecute her now for that,” Lazar said.
The weapon has not been recovered.
County Detective Ray Dupilka charged Harrington on Monday with hindering apprehension and concealing evidence, carrying a firearm without a license and tampering with evidence. She was arraigned before New Kensington District Judge Frank J. Pallone Jr. and remanded to the county prison after failing to post $100,000 bond.
Harrington already is awaiting trial on charges she hindered police in their efforts to apprehend Holt in the days after the shooting. She was free on $75,000 bond posted by a bail bondsman in that case, according to court dockets.
Holt, 31, of Harrison was convicted by a jury Nov. 12 of first-degree murder in the death of Shaw, who police said was gunned down following a traffic stop in New Kensington. Holt was sentenced to death Thursday.
Holt was arrested after a four-day manhunt.
Investigators contend Harrington and other friends and family members lied to police about Holt’s whereabouts during the search.
Harrington’s trial in the earlier case was continued to February. Lazar said Monday he believes both cases now will be tried together.
Earlier this year, Judge Rita Hathaway issued a bench warrant for Harrington after she failed to appear in court for a hearing to schedule her upcoming trial. Harrington told Hathaway on March 20 that she thought the hearing had been scheduled for another day.
Harrington’s court-appointed attorney, Adam Gorzelsky, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
A preliminary hearing on the new complaints is scheduled Dec. 5 before Pallone.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .