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Police: Greensburg rape suspect had stolen .357 handgun

Paul Peirce
| Thursday, March 1, 2018, 1:30 p.m.
Benjamin Melvin Davis is escorted to his preliminary arraignment on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. He and another man are accused of raping an unconscious woman in Greensburg.
Benjamin Melvin Davis is escorted to his preliminary arraignment on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. He and another man are accused of raping an unconscious woman in Greensburg.
Levi Lee Evans and Benjamin Melvin Davis.
Levi Lee Evans and Benjamin Melvin Davis.

Greensburg police Thursday added a gun charge to a complaint filed against one of two suspects charged last month with rape of an unconscious person and drug possession.

Prior to a scheduled preliminary hearing on the rape charge Thursday, Detective John Swank added charges of illegal possession of a firearm and receiving stolen property against Benjamin Melvin Davis, 20, of Greensburg, who police said had a .357 handgun that had been stolen in North Huntingdon.

The hearing before Greensburg District Judge Chris Flanigan on the rape charges police filed against Davis and his co-defendant, Levi Lee Evans, 20, of Greensburg, was continued because Davis has not yet hired an attorney.

When officers arrested Davis on Feb. 20 on a warrant for the alleged rape, he was hiding in a bedroom closet in an apartment on Westminster Avenue, where they recovered a .357 handgun, Swank reported in an affidavit filed before Flanigan.

“I asked Davis if the handgun found in the bedroom was his and he said yes,” Swank wrote.

Police arrested Davis and Evans after two women told investigators that they lost consciousness at a city home after smoking marijuana and drinking soda with Davis and Evans on Jan. 18. The victims said they were sexually assaulted by the men, according to court documents.

Swank reported that it is illegal for Davis to possess firearms because he was convicted in common pleas court of intimidating a witness.

Police later learned that the handgun was stolen Feb. 14 from a home on Ipnar Road in North Huntingdon. Township police Wednesday charged Matthew C. Kifer. 20, of Irwin, with burglary for breaking into the residence and taking the gun, which was kept in a sock in a dresser drawer.

Kifer admitted in an interview that he also stole $500 during the break-in, Township Detective Kirk Youngstead alleges in court documents.

“Kifer stated after finding the gun and money, he left the residence, keeping the money and giving the gun to someone in Greensburg,” Youngstead wrote in the complaint.

District Judge Wayne Gongaware of North Huntingdon ordered Kifer held in the county prison after he failed to post $50,000 bond. In addition to burglary, he was charged with criminal trespass, illegal possession of a handgun and receiving stolen property.

Flanigan increased Davis' bail from $150,000 to $250,000 after arraigning him on the new charges. She rescheduled the preliminary hearings for Davis and Evans on March 22.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.

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