North Huntingdon man faces charges with others in romance murder plot
A North Huntingdon Township man is in jail awaiting an extradition hearing on charges that he and a Butler County man conspired with an Ohio woman in the attempted murder of her husband last year over an alleged Internet romance.
Brian Long was shot twice on June 3, 2004, but survived and was living with his wife, Leslie Long, one of the alleged co-conspirators, until her arrest Wednesday near the couple’s St. Clairsville, Ohio, home.
“This certainly has all the makings of a Hollywood story, but we’re not commenting on each individual’s role. We can say, however, that we believe money changed hands,” said Chris Berhalter, the prosecutor of Belmont County, Ohio.
Now jailed are Leslie Long and Richard Cavanaugh, 42, of 2351 Myers Lane, North Huntingdon Township. John Jaworski, 36, of Buffalo Township, Butler County, remains free on $250,000 bond, and has entered a guilty plea in the case, Berhalter said.
All three were indicted on attempted murder charges by an Ohio grand jury earlier this week in Brian Long’s shooting. Cavanaugh’s charge also contained a notation that he allegedly was in possession of a gun during commission of the offense. The charge of attempted murder carries a penalty of three to 10 years in jail in Ohio.
Although Berhalter refused to say, it appears from court papers filed here that the Belmont County grand jury found probable cause to believe Cavanaugh fired the gun.
“We believe there was a romance between Mrs. Long and Mr. Jaworski, and they involved Mr. Cavanaugh,” Berhalter said.
Belmont County, Ohio, is about 12 miles west of Wheeling, W.Va., and has a population of about 70,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Berhalter thanked the Pennsylvania State Police for their assistance in the case. Cpl. Beverly Ashton of Troop B, Washington barracks, arrested both Jaworski and Cavanaugh. She said neither man said anything remarkable when he was taken into custody.
Jaworski had been arrested on Oct. 7 on an extradition warrant in relation to the case, while Cavanaugh wasn’t taken into custody until Wednesday, like Leslie Long.
According to Berhalter, grand jurors were holding their mandated twice-yearly session at the county jail on Wednesday, and Brian Long was called to testify.
His wife appeared outside of the jail on her own and was taken into custody once the grand jury voted to charge her.
“I can’t know what she was thinking, but I can only suppose that she was waiting outside, curious about the proceedings within. It wasn’t too difficult to locate her” once charges were handed down, Berhalter said.
Jaworski awaits sentencing before Belmont County Western District Judge Harry White, while Cavanaugh is in the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bond. He’s scheduled to appear before Westmoreland County Judge Rita D. Hathaway for an extradition hearing on March 9.
Reporter Brandon Keat contributed to this story.