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Regola denies family's involvement in teen's death

| Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006

The attorney for state Sen. Robert Regola of Hempfield Township Tuesday said that the senator's son never had any face-to-face contact with his 14-year-old neighbor in the hours before the body of Louis Farrell was found shot to death behind the Farrell home July 22.

Mark Rush, Regola's Pittsburgh-based attorney, said the only conversation 16-year-old Bobby Regola and Farrell had on the night of July 21 was a six-minute telephone call. Rush said telephone records and data from the Regola's home alarm system showed that the young Regola did not leave the home that evening after he returned from an outing at Idlewild Park about 10:30 p.m.

Sen. Regola spoke out about the investigation yesterday in a written statement, saying he had kept silent out of respect for the Farrell family and the investigation but that media reports had “created serious misimpressions and fueled a great deal of erroneous and hurtful speculation to all concerned.”

The statement comes after Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck filed a legal brief indicating a warrant authorizing a search of the Regola home should remain sealed because police were investigating a crime. It was the first time Farrell's death was labeled in that manner. The Westmoreland County Coroner's Office has yet to determine if Farrell's death was an accident, suicide or homicide.

“Neither my son Bobby nor I had any involvement in the tragic death of Lou Farrell,” Regola said in the statement.

Regola added that the gun was stored in a case in his upstairs bedroom. “It was not loaded and was not easily accessible, as I have young children in my home,” Regola said.

Rush said when Bobby Regola returned home from the amusement park he found a door ajar and indications that somebody else had been in the house.

Rush did not discuss specific evidence but said there's no evidence to show that Regola or his family was involved in any crime. He also said that the use of the word “crime” in a legal brief filed by Peck was boilerplate language that prosecutors use to justify a search warrant.

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