East Huntingdon homicide suspect returns to Westmoreland County from Ohio
A Uniontown man accused of killing an 11-month-old girl in July was brought back to Westmoreland County from Ohio Wednesday to face homicide and related charges.
Derrick “Hector” A. Bass, 29, was ordered to be held at the Westmoreland County Prison without bail in connection with the July 13 death of Niomie Rose Miller in East Huntingdon.
He had been held in the Cuyahoga County Jail in Ohio since July 15 when he was arrested in Cleveland after fleeing Westmoreland County while police investigated the death and filed charges.
State police got a warrant signed by Gov. Tom Wolf to help in their efforts to get Bass back to Pennsylvania, said Trooper Steve Limani.
“It’s one of the first steps towards closure to try and move forward with the prosecution of Mr. Bass in this horrific case,” he said.
Westmoreland County sheriff’s deputies transported Bass two and a half hours from Cleveland. He refused to answer questions from reporters while being escorted into court for his arraignment.
“Get that (expletive) out my face,” Bass said.
During an Aug. 6 extradition hearing in Cuyahoga County, a judge ordered Bass be turned over to state police in Westmoreland County, according to online court records. He was captured there after authorities said Niomie’s body was found underneath a blanket in a playpen early July 14. Niomie, who was about two weeks shy of her first birthday, was the daughter of a woman Bass had been dating for a few days.
According to police, Bass was caring for the girl along with his two children at the Laurel Hill Apartments near Scottdale while his girlfriend was at work.
When the woman arrived home, she found that Bass, the three children, two televisions and 27 DVDs were missing, according to court papers. Police started looking for Bass and Niomie, but the girl later was found dead by her mother in the playpen.
Bass followed along with police paperwork as District Judge Charles Moore read the allegations aloud during the preliminary arraignment. Bass requested a public defender and access to numbers in his cell phone that state police seized as evidence so he could call family members.
A ruling on Niomie’s cause of death has not been made. Authorities were investigating the possibility that she may have drowned. Investigators are performing additional tests.
“On his way to the courtroom, he definitely wasn’t very forthright or have much remorse, it didn’t appear, for the actions that took place just a few weeks ago,” Limani said. “But one of the things we’re going to have on our side, obviously, is the district attorney and all the prosecutors and the victim’s family as we move forward in our case and try to prosecute Mr. Bass.”
Troopers found the missing television and DVDs at Bass’ Uniontown apartment. His two children were dropped off with someone he knows, police said. In addition to homicide, he is charged with theft, receiving stolen property, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
An Aug. 28 preliminary hearing is set.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .