Monday, August 6, 2012

Chambersburg triple murder suspect extradited from Ohio - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Two Franklin County sheriff's deputies will go to Ohio today to bring back a man accused of gunning down his estranged wife, her boyfriend and the boyfriend's mother 10 days ago in a small Pennsylvania town just north of the Maryland border.

The boyfriend, Vincent "Luke" Santucci Jr., 29, grew up in Avalon and attended Northgate High School. His mother, Rosemary Holma, 55, was from the Pittsburgh area, and both still have family there.

Triple-murder suspect Kevin Cleeves, 35, will face a preliminary hearing within a week on three counts of homicide in the July 27 slayings of Mr. Santucci, Ms. Holma and Mr. Cleeves' wife, Brandi Cleeves, 25, from whom he was separated.

He waived extradition last week and will be returned to the Franklin County jail outside Chambersburg, officials said.

State police said a dispute over the Cleeves' 4-year-old daughter, Leia, led to the killings, which occurred in Quincy, where Mr. Santucci and his mother lived. The child was present at the time of the shootings but wasn't hurt.

Mr. Cleeves, of Waynesburg, had gone to Mr. Santucci's home to talk to his wife about custody of their daughter.

Mr. Santucci and Ms. Cleeves had been friends and were dating for about two months, said Mr. Santucci's father, Vincent L. Santucci Sr., who lives in Gettysburg.

They were sitting in the younger Mr. Santucci's car outside his house at the time of the shootings. Ms. Holma was shot when she rushed to help her son, state police said.

After the shootings, Mr. Cleeves took Leia and fled to Austintown in northeastern Ohio. He was on his way to Michigan to see his aunt, police said, adding he had called his aunt and had said he'd been "drinking and mad'' at the time of the shootings.

Mr. Cleeves told state police he had been drunk and had "messed up" on the night of the shootings, The Associated Press has reported. The shootings started after Mr. Santucci told Mr. Cleeves to leave, the AP said.

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