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Briefs: Police focusing hunt for woman's killer

| Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Pittsburgh police said Tuesday they are "narrowing down the list" of possible suspects in the stabbing death of a Homewood woman in her Monticello Street home.

"We're looking at all people that had recent contact with her, and closing in on those who would have been in her home during a specific time frame," major crimes Cmdr. Maurita Bryant said.

Yvette Plummer, 37, was found dead by a neighbor at about 11:30 a.m. Monday. She had been stabbed more than 25 times, and her body and home were doused in kerosene, police said.

Police questioned Donnie Brewer, identified as the victim's boyfriend and owner of the home, for several hours Monday night but have not charged him with any wrongdoing, Bryant said.

"We're still looking at him, but we're also looking in other directions," she said.

Millvale Jawbone discovered in home's basement

Pathologists from the Allegheny County Coroner's Office will examine what appears to be a human jawbone that was found Tuesday in the basement of a home in Millvale.

The jawbone was found by those cleaning the home on Sample Street, authorities said. Foul play is not suspected, investigators said.

Hill District Identity-theft scheme results in prison term

A Hill District woman pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to passing an $867 counterfeit check as part of an identity-theft operation.

Dyanne Croumbles, 43, of Clark Street, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Robert Cindrich, who set sentencing for Aug. 15.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan T. Conway said Croumbles admitted cashing the counterfeit check drawn on the account of the University of Pittsburgh at a check-cashing service in McKeesport on Sept. 26.

Croumbles faces a possible 10 years in prison, $250,000 fine and three years' supervised release.

Conway said Croumbles also took responsibility for passing another counterfeit check and for participating in a scheme to cash Veterans Affairs checks made out to a veteran who was deceased.

Region Felon gets four years in firearms charge

A former Michigan man was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to nearly four years in prison for illegal possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.

Edrick Ray Spearman, 27, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Maurice B. Cohill Jr., who also directed Spearman to serve three years on supervised release after he gets out of prison.

A co-defendant, Elaine Renee Wilder, 25, of New Castle, Lawrence County, was sentenced yesterday by Cohill to two years' probation for making "straw" purchases of five guns from Jan. 16 to Jan. 23, 2001 at Duke's Sport Spot Inc., in New Castle.

Federal prosecutors said Wilder went to the gun store and purchased handguns that had been picked out by Spearman, a former New Castle resident who wasn't permitted to have a firearm because he had been convicted of a felony.

Pittsburgh Planning panel OKs purchase by school

The city Planning Commission on Tuesday approved plans by the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh to buy Victoria Hall in Lawrenceville and convert the social hall into an elementary school.

School officials and parents had complained that the project was being delayed as a result of a new city planning practice that gave lower priority to nonprofit organizations.

Also yesterday, the commission approved plans by the Buncher Co. to build an 80,000-square-foot warehouse in Lawrenceville, between the Allegheny Railroad tracks and the Allegheny River, with a condition that the plan include landscaping. Some neighborhood residents had opposed the project, but there was no opposition at the meeting.

Armstrong County

Coroner rules death a suicide

The death of a man whose body was found Tuesday evening floating in the Allegheny River near Ford City has been ruled a suicide, Armstrong County Coroner Robert T. Bower said.

James A. Beck, 63, of Ford City, who was unable to swim, attached weights to his ankles and left a suicide note in his car, Bower said.

Robber sought in Hill District heist

Pittsburgh police are searching for a man who robbed a Hill District savings and loan Tuesday morning.

The robber walked into the Dwellings House Savings and Loan on Herron Avenue shortly after 11 a.m. and demanded money from two tellers, city robbery detectives said.

Although the man did not have a gun, one of the tellers complied with the demand while the other tripped an alarm, police said. The robber walked out with about $1,400.

Police described the robber as a black man in his late 30s or early 40s. He was about 6 feet tall with a thick mustache, and he wore dark pants and a black-and-gold sweatshirt. Anyone with information on his identity is asked to call the city robbery squad at (412) 665-4317.

Pitcairn Charges reduced in drinking incident

A Pitcairn man charged with providing alcohol to teenagers waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday and charges against him were reduced.

Police had charged Ken Tempest, 38, of Third Street, with 30 counts of corruption of minors after they discovered teenagers drinking at a party at his house on April 11. At a hearing yesterday before Monroeville District Justice Walter Luniewski, the charges were reduced to one count of corruption of minors.

Pitcairn police said officers responding to a parking complaint in the neighborhood discovered the party at Tempest's home. A teen was passed out in one of the cars parked near the home and others who were drunk were lying on the lawn, police said.

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