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Kiski Township man slain; police aren't saying how

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Monday, Jan. 17, 2011

Police found a 43-year-old man dead in his Kiski Township home Sunday morning, the victim of an apparent homicide.

James Allen Sapinsky was found in the den of his split level home at 108 Birch St. by his "life partner," who had returned home from work early yesterday morning, Armstrong County Coroner Robert Bower said in a news release.

Sapinsky had suffered a single gunshot wound to the chest, Bower said. He was pronounced dead at 9:55 a.m.

The death is being investigated as a homicide. The manner of death is pending further investigation, Bower said.

The house is within sight of the Apollo-Ridge school complex.

Police did not have a suspect in custody and did not indicate if they were looking for anyone specific.

Armstrong County District Attorney Scott Andreassi said township police went to the house at 9 a.m. after a call was made to 911.

Who made that call is under investigation. Andreassi said police would review a recording of the call.

Police entered the house, saw what appeared to be a body and immediately left to summon state police, which responded with its major case team, Andreassi said.

Police obtained a search warrant before entering the house, Andreassi said. The body was removed around 4:30 p.m. and has been released to the Curran-Shafer Funeral Home in Apollo.

Authorities released little information about their investigation.

Authorities kept Birch Street east of Clark Avenue closed for most of the day as they conducted their investigation.

A state police helicopter arrived around 2 p.m. and circled the neighborhood for about a half hour. Andreassi said it was taking aerial photographs.

Andreassi said one other person lived in the home. He did not identify that person, and said he did not know that person's relationship to Sapinsky. That person was being sought.

Investigators were talking with Sapinsky's family, friends and neighbors, Andreassi said.

"We're trying to piece together what happened," he said.

Sapinsky's home is in what's known as the Miller plan, off Route 56 and east of Apollo. It's a small neighborhood of single-family homes on dead-end streets.

Rich Kern, who has lived on the adjacent Oak Street since 1986, said the Sapinsky house had changed hands five times since then. Kern said he didn't know Sapinksy.

Kern said he didn't know anything had happened until he and his wife, Judy, left for church around 10:45 a.m.

"I'm just amazed all the police activity back here," he said. "There's never been anything back here, no criminal activity. It's a shock to the neighborhood."

"We feel for the family, whoever is involved," he said.

At their church, Boiling Springs Presbyterian, prayers were offered for families in the Miller plan, Judy Kern said.

"Everybody is quite shaken up about this. Our neighborhood is so quiet. That's why we like it here so much," she said. "It's not a coffee klatch. We keep to ourselves. But we're there for each other whenever anyone needs something."

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