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Seven arrested in connection with Officer Derek Kotecki killing

| Friday, March 23, 2012

The aftermath of the murder of Lower Burrell police Officer Derek Kotecki arrived Friday when Westmoreland County authorities arrested several people in connection with the case.

One of those arrested is Chad Post, 35, of Lower Burrell, brother of Kotecki's killer, Charlie Post. He faces two counts of hindering apprehension and one count of criminal conspiracy for allegedly helping Charlie Post during the 10 days he was a fugitive after attempting to shoot his boss outside the Clarion Hotel in New Kensington.

Also charged is James "Lutzo" Ameris III, 52, of Lower Burrell, who drove Charlie Post to the Dairy Queen in Lower Burrell where the gunman ambushed Kotecki on Oct. 12. Post died moments later when other officers shot him.

Ameris is not charged with anything related to the night Kotecki was murdered. Ameris faces two counts each of illegal gun possession and illegal sale/transfer of a gun. One of those charges involves Ameris illegally obtaining the .40-caliber, semi-automatic pistol Post used to shoot Kotecki. However, Ameris is not accused of providing Post with the firearm.

The .40-caliber took a circuitous route to Post.

The charges state Meryl Edwin "Mickey" Smith, 33, of Arnold, and his uncle, Robert George Zentner, 56, Lower Burrell, were at a gun bash in Richland Township in 2007. Smith won the gun, but did not have the proper identification on him to fill out the required federal forms. Zentner instead filled out the forms and took possession of the pistol, but then gave it to Smith.

After a domestic dispute in 2009, Smith allegedly gave the gun to Nevin Alan Lawson, 41, Allegheny Township. Several months later, Ameris visited Lawson's home and took the pistol.

Smith, Zentner and Lawson are charged with two counts each of illegal sale/transfer of a firearm.

Two Lower Burrell women, Amanda Christyn Walters, 23, and her aunt, Nicole Martha Walters, 37, face two counts of hindering apprehension and one count of criminal conspiracy.

The charges state both women, knowing Post was a fugitive, nonetheless provided him with a ride from the Aspinwall area to Plum and gave him money, a cell phone, food and clothing.

All of the suspects were arraigned Friday before Washington Township District Judge Jason Buczak. All were released on bond.

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