New charge filed against Hempfield man accused of threatening church, pastor |

New charge filed against Hempfield man accused of threatening church, pastor

Renatta Signorini
Westmoreland County Prison
Mark Ray

A Hempfield man accused of leaving threatening messages for the pastor of a Penn Township church was arrested Tuesday on a charge of flight to avoid apprehension.

Mark Eugene Ray, 59, was found hiding in an East Pittsburgh home June 3, 10 days after he allegedly fled from police trying to arrest him on ethnic intimidation and related charges, according to police. He was jailed Tuesday on $35,000 bail.

Westmoreland County sheriff’s deputies helped Penn Township police track Ray after the arrest attempt May 24. According to a criminal complaint, authorities were tipped off Ray was staying with a friend in East Pittsburgh.

Around 11 a.m. June 3, police found a red Chevrolet Malibu from a Herminie auto service they believe Ray was using parked outside a Grandview Avenue home. After an extensive search, they found him inside the coal cellar, according to court papers.

Ray is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison on ethnic intimidation and related charges in two separate cases connected to threatening messages and racial slurs directed at the members and pastors at Living Word Congregational Church. He first was arrested in 2017 and was ordered to stop contacting the church. His bail has been revoked in that case.

In the case filed last month, police allege Ray left four voicemails — two each May 14 and 15 — directed at the church’s pastor, who police said is black. Ray is white, according to court documents.

His attorney could not be reached. A preliminary hearing on the flight charge is set for July 12.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.