Archive

ShareThis Page
Armstrong escapee caught; murder charges pending | TribLIVE.com
News

Armstrong escapee caught; murder charges pending

Tribune-Review
| Friday, July 31, 2015 9:18 a.m
VNDGotCaught1080115
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Armstrong County Jail escapee, Robert Crissman Jr., 38, is escorted by two Pennsylvania State Troopers from the Kittanning Barracks, Friday July 31, 2015.
TammyLong
Tammy Elizabeth (Mohney) Long, 55, was found dead in her home at 2:45 p.m., Thursday afternoon, by her boyfriend. Robert Crissman Jr. is the prime suspect in the Rayburn Township woman's murder.
EscapedInmateMurderSuspectJPEG01ac01
This undated photo provided by the Armstrong County Jail shows Robert Crissman Jr., who allegedly escaped from the jailon Thursday, July 30, 2015, He's also suspected of killing Tammy Long in her Rayburn home.
crissmancaR
WPXI
Escaped Armstrong County inmate Robert Crissman Jr. shortly after he was captured on Friday, July 31, 2015, in Boggs Township.
LTInmateescape6073115
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
State police investigate the scene where Tammy Long, 55, was killed at 110 Rayburn Road off of Route 85 in Rayburn. Thursday, July 30, 2015. Robert Crissman Jr. escaped from Armstrong County Jail this morning and is suspected of killing the woman and stealing her truck.
TammyLong
Tammy Elizabeth (Mohney) Long, 55, was found dead in her home at 2:45 p.m., Thursday afternoon, by her boyfriend. Robert Crissman Jr. is the prime suspect in the Rayburn Township woman's murder.
ltinmateescape073115
Armstrong County Jail
Inmate Robert Edward Crissman Jr., 38, walked away from the Armstrong County Jail in Rayburn on Thursday, July 30, 2015, police said.
LTInmateescape4073115
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Armstrong County District Attorney Scott Andreassi crosses the crime scene tape at a home in Rayburn where a woman was slain, Thursday, July 30, 2015.
LTInmateescape5073115
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Armstrong County sheriff's Deputy Chris Laird secures the crime scene at 110 Rayburn Road, Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Rayburn.
LTInmateescape30731151
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
State police forensic vehicles are parked outside home of Tammy Long at 110 Rayburn Road off of Route 85 in Rayburn. Thursday, July 30, 2015.
LTInmateEscape20731152
Brigid Beatty | Trib Total Media
A state police trooper with a tracking dog from the Allegheny County K9 unit assist in the search for escaped Armstrong County Jail inmate Robert Edward Crissman Jr. in Rayburn Thursday, July 30, 2015.
LTInmateEscape1073115
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Officials stand behind state police Lt. Steve Russo during a press conference at the Armstrong County Jail, Thursday, July 30, 2015, about the escape of an inmate that morning. Also pictured are: (left to right) County Commissioner Dave Battaglia, Sheriff Bill Rupert, County Commissioner Bob Bower and District Attnory Scott Andreassi.
LTInmateEscape20731151
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Armstrong County Sheriff Bill Rupert gets updates from a command center set up in front of the Armstrong County Jail in Rayburn after the escape of an inmate, Thursday, July 30, 2015.
LTInmateescape6073115
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
State police investigate the scene where Tammy Long, 55, was killed at 110 Rayburn Road off of Route 85 in Rayburn. Thursday, July 30, 2015. Robert Crissman Jr. escaped from Armstrong County Jail this morning and is suspected of killing the woman and stealing her truck.
TammyLong
Tammy Elizabeth (Mohney) Long, 55, was found dead in her home at 2:45 p.m., Thursday afternoon, by her boyfriend. Robert Crissman Jr. is the prime suspect in the Rayburn Township woman's murder.
ltinmateescape073115
Armstrong County Jail
Inmate Robert Edward Crissman Jr., 38, walked away from the Armstrong County Jail in Rayburn on Thursday, July 30, 2015, police said.
LTInmateescape4073115
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Armstrong County District Attorney Scott Andreassi crosses the crime scene tape at a home in Rayburn where a woman was slain, Thursday, July 30, 2015.
LTInmateescape5073115
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
Armstrong County sheriff's Deputy Chris Laird secures the crime scene at 110 Rayburn Road, Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Rayburn.
LTInmateescape30731151
Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
State police forensic vehicles are parked outside home of Tammy Long at 110 Rayburn Road off of Route 85 in Rayburn. Thursday, July 30, 2015.
LTInmateEscape20731152
Brigid Beatty | Trib Total Media
A state police trooper with a tracking dog from the Allegheny County K9 unit assist in the search for escaped Armstrong County Jail inmate Robert Edward Crissman Jr. in Rayburn Thursday, July 30, 2015.
LTInmateEscape1073115
Officials stand behind state police Lt. Steve Russo during a press conference at the Armstrong County Jail, Thursday, July 30, 2015, about the escape of an inmate that morning. Also pictured are: (left to right) County Commissioner Dave Battaglia, Sheriff Bill Rupert, County Commissioner Bob Bower and District Attnory Scott Andreassi.

Suspected killer Robert Edward Crissman Jr. was captured Friday morning, a little more than 24 hours after he escaped from the Armstrong County Jail.

Police caught Crissman at 8:40 a.m., on Williamson Road near Pine Creek Road in Boggs Township after a seven-mile chase, which ended when he rammed a police cruiser with a stolen pickup truck, said District Attorney Scott Andreassi.

“We have him now, but this entire thing was a tragedy because of the death of Ms. Long,” Andreassi said.

Crissman is the prime suspect in the murder of Rayburn resident Tammy Long, who was found in her home at 2:45 p.m., Thursday afternoon by her boyfriend, Terry Slagle.

Coroner Brian Meyers said Long, 55, died after she was strangled and beaten. Her death remains under investigation, Meyers said.

Crissman, who is from the Templeton-Mosgrove area, had been in jail since July 24 for violating probation. He has a long history of drug and theft charges, according to court records, but no history of violence.

He had trusty status, which meant he was afforded some freedoms to work within the jail. Crissman had access to an unlocked exterior door at the jail, which he walked out of while distributing food trays to inmates Thursday morning.

Seeking a ride

After walking away from the jail, police believe Crissman ran to Long and Slagle’s home, which is less than a mile away.

According to court papers filed Friday, Crissman went to Long’s home seeking a ride into Kittanning. Slagle told police Crissman appeared very calm at the time. Neither Long nor Slagle were aware Crissman had just escaped from prison.

The affidavit states that Long agreed to give Crissman a ride because Slagle was getting ready to go to work.

Police believe Crissman waited for Slagle to leave for work then killed Long and stole Slagle’s truck, a maroon 1999 Chevrolet Silverado, Andreassi said.

Slagle told police he later saw news reports that Crissman had escaped from the jail and tried to call Long’s cell phone, but got no answer. He immediately headed home and noticed his truck was missing.

When he got into the house, he noticed his television and a .22 caliber rifle also were missing before finding Long’s body on the bathroom floor.

Slagle also found Crissman’s green jail pants, which he earlier had mistaken for gray sweatpants, and a white blood-stained T-shirt underneath a bed in the house.

Residents tip police

The Armstrong County 911 center began receiving calls from Boggs Township residents, who spotted Slagle’s stolen truck on Ridge Road, around 7:30 a.m. Friday.

About 30 minutes later, police received a call from a woman, who Andreassi would not identify, on State Route 1034, claiming Crissman had stopped at her home with a gasoline can, asking for help.

“She immediately recognized him, then slammed and locked the door, and called 911,” Andreassi said. “She stayed on the phone with the 911 operator until the police arrived. It was a very tense situation.”

While police were on their way, Crissman stole the woman’s white pickup truck, according to police.

Police chased Crissman on State Route 1034 and Route 28/66, with the pursuit ending on Williamson Road when he rammed a state police cruiser. Trooper Thomas Karlo of the Kittanning state police station suffered injuries to his hand and leg in the crash.

He was treated at a hospital and released. It was the only injury reported Friday.

Despite reports of sightings as far away as Pittsburgh, investigators believe Crissman stayed within a 10-mile radius of the Armstrong County Jail, Andreassi said.

“We can’t discount any sightings, but we don’t believe he went that far from the area.”

Stolen truck found

Mosgrove resident Chris Haley, 19, said his home is less than a mile from where Crissman grew up.

Haley said he worked a night shift Thursday and returned home at around 8 a.m. Friday to find the stolen getaway truck abandoned at the end of his driveway.

“I pulled in and there were cops blocking it carrying AR-15 rifles,” Haley said. “It was a sight.”

His dad, Kevin, searched the home to make sure it was safe.

He said neighbors gathered in their yards to talk as police searched the area.

“Everyone who knew (Crissman) said he was a genuinely nice guy,” Haley said.

But, he added, it was scary to think of him being armed and on the run.

“He made everyone lock their doors,” he said.

Crissman faces charges of homicide, theft, escaping jail and aggravated assault, and was to be arraigned by District Judge James Owen in Kittanning. He will be housed in the Butler County Jail.

“Considering he escaped, the Butler County Jail will be dealing with him appropriately,” Andreassi said.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.