Second day of testimony reveals Tyrone relevance to murder case

Testimony in the second day of the murder proceedings for 21-year-old Ashville resident Marie Louise Seilhamer revealed a Tyrone tie.
Nichole Zimmerman testified yesterday that Seilhamer and Kristin Edmundson acted “strangely” after they returned to her Tyrone home following a two-hour ride with an unknown girl, who did not return with them.
Police believe this “unknown girl” was 20-year-old Shari Lee Jackson of Hollidaysburg, whose charred body was found the next day along state Route 453.
More than a half dozen prosecution witnesses took the stand yesterday to paint District Attorney Dave Gorman’s picture of what he believed happened exactly two years ago. Gorman claims Seilhamer and Edmundson plotted the killing of Jackson and brutally carried the plan out with a baseball bat and box-cutter style knife.
Seilhamer’s attorney, Thomas Dickey of Altoona, claims his client was present when Jackson was killed, but didn’t have the involvement that Gorman claims she did. Dickey says Edmundson had the reason to kill Jackson – jealousy.
According to Zimmerman’s testimony. Seilhamer and Edmundson arrived early that morning in a white pick-up truck. She said there was another girl with them – a girl she did not recognize.
Zimmerman said Seilhamer and Edmundson entered her home and went straight upstairs. When they returned, Zimmerman said Edmundson was wearing dark shorts and a dark shirt and Seilhamer was wearing a black T-shirt, light jeans and sneakers. She said both women were wearing bandanas.
“They then got in the truck and left,” said Zimmerman. “They came back about two hours later. The other girl wasn’t with them.”
Zimmerman continued to tell the court that after the women returned to her home, they were acting strangely and changed their clothes. She said Edmundson had blood on her arm and a bump under her eye.
“I asked her (Kristin) what had happened and she said she beat up Jackson,” said Zimmerman.
The Tyrone woman also said Edmundson asked her to lie if police asked her about her injuries.
According to Zimmerman, after the pair left her residence, she told Kenneth Riggleman of Tyrone that Edmundson and Seilhamer were acting “weird.”
Riggleman then told his friend Kara McCaulley of Bellwood what Zimmerman had said. McCaulley, being the daughter of a state police officer, contacted 911. Hours later, Jackson’s body was discovered.
Testimony in the already lengthy trial picked up this morning in the Blair County Courthouse in Hollidaysburg. The proceedings began April 28 with court officials questioning a pool of 207 Blair County residents for jury selection. By Thursday afternoon, only a handful of jurors were seated.
In a rare move, presiding Judge Jolene Kopriva told sheriff deputies to scour the county in search of other perspective jurors on Friday. By Friday afternoon, the 16-panel jury was seated and Kopriva instructed the panel that Saturday would be the first day of testimony.
Jurors are being sequestered throughout trial and are staying in a local motel, with strict instruction on the amount of media and outside entertainment that will be allowed.
On Saturday, Gorman opened proceeding with an outline of his case. He told jurors that Seilhamer and Edmundson developed a plot, even going so far as to travel to an area along Janesville Pike to map out the area.
Dickey countered by saying Edmundson had the reason to kill Jackson because of Jackson’s relationship with Edmundson’s roommate. He said Seilhamer didn’t even know Edmundson was going to kill Jackson that day, and said when Seilhamer realized that was going to happen, she became physically ill.
Proceedings are scheduled to continue throughout the week. It is unclear if and when Gorman will call Edmundson to the stand.
Edmundson had agreed to cooperate with the district attorney’s office if it offered her a life sentence in exchange for a guilty plea on first-degree murder charges. The agreement was signed in January and Edmundson will be officially sentenced at the conclusion of the Seilhamer proceedings, provided that she does cooperate with the commonwealth.
Two others involved, 24-year-old Scott Custer and 21-year-old Amanda Speicher, both of Boswell, have already pleaded guilty for their role in the crime. Custer pleaded guilty for hindering apprehension and was sentenced to a “time served” sentence, which computed to about 15 months. Speicher also pleaded guilty to lesser crimes and was sentenced to a period of probation.
If convicted, Seilhamer could face the death penalty.