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Doctor Awaits Arrest 19 Years After Friend’s Death

June 28, 1995

WAVERLY, Pa. (AP) _ Dr. Steven Scher’s best friend was killed 19 years ago in what Scher claimed was a skeet-shooting accident: the victim supposedly shot himself in the chest while chasing after a porcupine.

Martin Dillon’s death was ruled accidental, but suspicion of Scher grew when he married Dillon’s widow two years later. And this spring, the victim’s bitter father forced authorities to reopen the case, who changed the cause of death to homicide.

Scher, 56, who says he has been hounded by the suspicion for years, is waiting for police to charge him.

``I want to come forward, present myself to the state police and turn myself in and say, `Arrest me and let’s get on with this trial so I can forget about the last 19 years,‴ he said Wednesday in this Scranton suburb.

Scher left Susquehanna County in 1976 but returned to northeast Pennsylvania this week after coroner Robert Bartron changed Dillon’s cause of death from accidental shooting to homicide.

``I did nothing to deserve this,″ Scher said. ``I’ve been unfairly persecuted for the past 19 years. It’s destroying my life.″

A year before the shooting, Scher’s wife at the time accused him of having an affair with Patricia Dillon, and he reacted by filing for divorce. He and Patricia Dillon, now his wife, say they did not become romantically involved until a year after Dillon’s death.

Scher said that on June 2, 1976, he and Dillon, then 30, were shooting skeet targets. Dillon was chasing a porcupine out of Scher’s sight when he heard a gun go off, Scher said. He said he found Dillon bleeding from the chest.

Dillon’s body was exhumed in April because of a civil lawsuit filed by his father, Larry Dillon. A new autopsy was performed, and Bartron said it uncovered evidence of a homicide, although he wouldn’t elaborate.

According to Scher’s attorney, Peter T. O’Malley, State Police Lt. Francis Hacken asked his client to come in for questioning.

``If they want to question him, they can come and arrest him,″ O’Malley said. ``But they know they have no case.″

``Three administrations of district attorneys have refused to prosecute this case,″ O’Malley said. ``Larry Dillon tried to have a special prosecutor appointed because the current D.A. wouldn’t investigate.″

District Attorney Jeff Snyder did not return phone calls seeking comment.

State police also have refused to comment on the case, saying they are still investigating. Larry Dillon refused to comment as well.

Scher and O’Malley, however, have orchestrated a media campaign.

Scher said he wants to go to trial to end the distrust that forced him to leave Pennsylvania.

``People don’t look you in the eye and call you a murderer, but they talk behind your back, and your children hear it,″ he said.

Patricia Scher said the real victims are her and Dillon’s two adult children, who have heard their grandparents call their stepfather a murderer.

``My children have been irreparably damaged. It’s been cruel and malicious and vicious and hateful,″ she said. ``To think for even a second that something would happen where (Scher) would destroy a life _ it’s incomprehensible.″

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