Homicide charge added in Derry death
Police have filed a homicide charge against an Indiana County man accused of shooting his estranged girlfriend in Derry nine times on Dec. 1, causing her death 18 days later.
The charges were filed against Arthur Leroy Whitfield III, 51, of Josephine in the shooting of Holly Slone George, 36, who died in a Pittsburgh hospital.
In addition to homicide, Trooper Jason Swope filed charges of burglary, illegal possession of a firearm by a felon and carrying a firearm without a license to previous complaints filed against Whitfield.
George’s 15-year-old daughter, Savannah Embry, testified at a preliminary hearing on Dec. 11 that Whitfield ambushed them as they watched “The Walking Dead” in George’s bedroom at her home.
After listening to the teenager’s testimony, Derry District Judge Mark Bilik ordered Whitfield to stand trial for attempted homicide and aggravated assault. At the time, George was in critical condition at UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh.
Bilik scheduled Whitfield’s preliminary hearing on the homicide charge for March 20.
Savannah testified she and her mother were watching television in the locked bedroom because they did not want younger children in the home to inadvertently see the program, which is inappropriate for their age group.
The children, age 9 and 13, were with Alisha Whitfield, 21, the suspect’s daughter, who lives with Holly George, according to testimony.
George and Whitfield’s 7-year-old child was visiting relatives.
Savannah said she saw the doorknob turn, so she got up, opened the door and saw Arthur Whitfield.
“Mom yelled for him to get out because he’s not suppose to be in there. … He pulled out the gun and he was close enough to my mother that she was able to push it away and yell at him” to stop, Savannah testified.
Whitfield told her mother, “ ‘This is the last time you’re going to (expletive) me up,’ ” Savannah testified.
He then fired nine times, according to testimony.
Alisha Whitfield testified that when she rushed toward her mother’s bedroom she saw her father fire the last two shots into George before he fled from the home.
Bilik ruled sufficient evidence was presented at the hearing for Whitfield to stand trial on additional charges of criminal trespass, discharging a firearm in an occupied structure, reckless endangerment and simple assault.
Whitfield served five years in prison in the 1990s for raping a Derry Township teenager at knifepoint in 1993, according to court records. He is being held in the county prison without bond.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or [email protected].