Razing of house at murder scene approved for Mt. Pleasant Township
An abandoned Mt. Pleasant Township house that was the scene of a 2010 murder, shooting and subsequent fire could soon be demolished, Solicitor Les Mlakar said.
A Westmoreland County judge ruled this month the Route 981 home in Calumet can be torn down. Township officials in April filed a civil complaint claiming the structure is a safety hazard.
“We hope to have it done before the end of the year,” Mlakar said.
Raymond Piper is serving 30 to 60 years in prison for shooting his then-wife, Janet, and their 16-year-old daughter in June 2010 at their home. Janet Piper went outside in an attempt to escape her husband and flagged down a passing motorist, Stacey Feiling, 42, of Mt. Pleasant Township. Raymond Piper opened Feiling's door when the woman stopped and fatally shot her before setting the house on fire.
Raymond Piper pleaded guilty to third-degree murder.
The couple is divorced but still owns the property. Township officials claimed in court documents that they have failed to comply with a request to fix or demolish the two-story house, resulting in it becoming a public nuisance.
Judge Chris Scherer ordered that the demolition fees be paid from fire-loss insurance proceeds — $10,666 — being held in escrow.
Neither of the Pipers objected during the hearing, according to Scherer's order.
Raymond Piper appeared via video conference from a state prison in Greene County. Attorney Debra Nicholson represented Janet Piper, who was not present.
Mlakar said township supervisors on Monday will approve an agreement with the county's redevelopment authority, which will manage the project and seek demolition quotes.
Supervisor Duane Hutter was pleased the judge ruled in the township's favor. The house — now home to raccoons, mice and rats — has become an eyesore.
“What we're trying to do is get the property cleaned up so we can move on,” Hutter said.
It's unclear how much the demolition will cost, but Mlakar said the township does not plan to file a lien on the property if the price is more than the amount in escrow. Any outstanding fees will be waived.
The tax claim bureau is asking a judge for permission to sell the property at a free-and-clear judicial sale. About $2,300 is owed in delinquent 2012-16 property taxes, according to court filings.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374 or email@example.com.