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Kidnap Suspect Charged With Homicide

July 19, 1988

ERIE, Pa. (AP) _ A charge of criminal homicide was lodged Tuesday against a small town bookstore operator already charged with kidnapping and related counts in the abduction and slaying of a banker’s wife.

David C. Copenhefer, 41, of Corry was arraigned before Erie County Judge William Pfadt.

Copenhefer is accused of abducting Sally Weiner on June 17, trying to extort money from her husband, Pennbank branch manager Harry Weiner, then shooting the woman in the back of the head.

Mrs. Weiner’s body was found June 19 in a field outside Corry in northwestern Pennsylvania. Copenhefer was charged with kidnapping the following day.

The criminal homicide charge was delayed while investigators conducted ballistics tests and developed other evidence.

At a news conference, state police said they have not ruled out the possibility others were involved in the abduction.

An affidavit distributed by District Attorney Rusty Cunningham says the evidence against Copenhefer includes a handwritten version of a computer- generated extortion note left for Weiner to retrieve. The handwritten note carried Copenhefer’s fingerprints and was found in garbage left behind his shop, Corry Books & Cards, the affidavit said.

It also alleged that tire prints were matched to Copenhefer’s vehicle, that lab tests showed that a fragmentation bullet that killed Mrs. Weiner could have been fired from one of several guns in Copenhefer’s home, and that duct tape found on the victim’s head matched a roll in the suspect’s home.

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