Bill Collier, Editor of the Tioga Freedomist, spoke to Luke Forgeng of Liberty. Luke confronted a woman who many believe to be the prime suspect in the Liberty murder that killed Oliver Litzelman in a home robbery. Luke gives Bill the full details of the confrontation. This interview was conducted on 1-9-14:
Published on Jan 16, 2014
Editor Bill Collier talks to Luke Forgeng, who may have confronted the Liberty Murder Suspect. This interview was conducted on 1-9-14. Go to http://tiogatv.com
Luke is a wonderful young man, with love and passion for others! Obviously this proves that fact. He is an inspiration to others in our church family and now the community, showing how his faith helps him through the world’s daily challenges, and also encourages him to share that gift with the community.
This particular horrific incident , that the video is about, opens our eyes, especially to the fact that though we live in a rural area we must be aware of our “surroundings”
Luke very well may have deterred another incident by redirecting the situation with conversation indicating to the alleged suspect “he was aware” … He put his life on the life to save many.
That very weekend we camped on that very road just below where Luke dropped his trailer off. We had no clue of the danger literally surrounding us!
Sunday after church our children were riding their bikes on the road , gentlemen from Liberty named Mr . Williams alerted us to the situation , telling us to keep our children close by and lock our campsite. Sadly during church a young lady discovered her grandparents suffering.
News travels fast in small communities, the love for our neighbors gives us an opportunity to help each other.
Thank you Luke!
Paul Gordon Collier
We at The Tioga Freedomist have covered a lot of stories over the past year. We have our favorites, like the potentially last homecoming game for North Penn or the 1890s weekend. We decided to compile a top ten list of stories based on two criteria, the stories that generated the most interaction on our Facebook News Community (facebook.com/tiogacountynewspaper) and the most viewed pages on our website.
From these two criteria, we compiled the Top 10 Stories of 2013 for Tioga County PA. Here is our review of those Top Ten Stories-
10. Mansfield Night Football Game
This story captured national attention with ESPN 3 carrying the game live-
Sprint Football- Night Lights, ESPN, and Big Mounties Win
121 years ago, the little town of Mansfield beat the world. Their team, Mansfield State Normal, played the first night football game ever. In 2013, the lights came back to Mansfield for their Sprint Football team, facing the Princeton Tigers. The game was televised nationally on ESPN 3, It broke the school record for a sporting event attendance, with 6,233 fans.
read the full article- http://tiogafreedomist.com/sprint-football-night-lights-espn-and-big-mounties-win/
9. Westfield Shooting
The tragic deaths of two Westfield residents in a shooting that still has the community looking for answers-
Two Die In Westfield Shooting
The two names of the deceased can now be released- Barry Mead, a 51 year old man from Westfield, shot and killed Vicki Copp, a 34 year old woman also from Westfield. Mead then, according to police reports, refuse to drop his weapon, a shotgun, and was fired upon by police, resulting in his death
read the full article- http://tiogafreedomist.com/two-die-in-westfield-shooting/
8. Heroin Epidemic
So many of our readers have been touched directly or indirectly by the increasingly harmful Heroin epidemic still growing in the County-
Heroin and You- The Personal and Community Choice Solutions
When is Wellsboro going to get the drugs under control? This is a growing problem and its killing our children our family members and our friends. Heroin seems to be the biggest along with pain pills. How many people have to die before something gets done? I understand the war on drugs is bigger than Wellsboro; but our town, our community needs to take a stand. A family and many friends are grieving tonight because of a drug overdose taking yet another life.
read the full article- http://tiogafreedomist.com/heroin-and-you-the-personal-and-community-choice-solutions/
7. Natasha Eldridge
The tragic death of Natasha Eldridge was the story of loss and community support. We highlight here both the loss AND the support-
Fatal Accident In Richmond Township
Richmond Township – The driver of a 2002 PT Cruiser was unable to negotiate a left turn in the road on Brooklyn Road, just a half a mile north of Spencer Road, in Richmond Township on the night of August 25th.
read the full article- http://tiogafreedomist.com/fatal-accident-in-richmond-township/
Benefit Dinner Delights Crowd and Helps Family
Mansfield Benefit for Natasha Eldridge’s Daughters is a Success.
6. Lycoming Mall Crash
A 90 year old man an a 23 year old woman lost their life November 23rd in a crash just outside the Lycoming Mall-
Crash Near Lycoming Mall Kills 2
Fairfield Township - A tragic crash kills two Friday afternoon in Lycoming County. The crash shut down Lycoming Mall Drive as Penn Dot released a travel advisory about the road closure around 3pm on Nov. 22, 2013
read the full article- http://tiogafreedomist.com/crash-near-lycoming-mall-kills-2/
5. Billie Joe Ribble
The unfolding saga of Billie Joe Ribble in March of this year kept our readers attention and also kept them sending us in news tip after news tip-
Burglary Suspect Kidnaps Wellsboro Mom, Daughter, Before Being Caught
The basic outlines of the stunning escape, kidnapping of a local woman and her child, and recapture of a burglary suspect are starting to emerge more clearly.
On March 1, a Friday afternoon, we do not know exactly when, Billie Jo Ribble was arrested by State Police at the Walmart in Mansfield.
4. Election 2013
Election 2013 was a number of stories starting in the primary season in May and ending with the November 5 General Election. Of all the stories covered in the election, the two that stood out were the results on Election night and what has become known as “the question”.
The latter story was by far the most popular of all of the stories of Election 2o13, so we will highlight that. Erick Coolidge, one of the current County Commissioners asked Paul Watkins, the then candidate for Tioga County Sheriff a question during a Republican Primary event in which he also declared he would not fund or support the Sheriff’s offfice if Watkins won. Here is the highlight from that story-
Eric Coolidge rose to question Paul Watkins next, offering what some in attendance termed a ‘political speech for Tom”. The gist of the question was this- can Tioga County afford a Sheriff with no law enforcement experience and how will Paul Watkins balance the budget when he can look forward to getting no support from the county commissioners?
Here are first the highlights from the Coolidge question on the experience issue:
Tioga County PA Commissioner Challenges County Sheriff Candidate in GOP Forum
“ I’m the one individual in the room who has served 18 years under 3 sheriffs. Each one (unintelligible) for having law enforcement as a background.”
“To Tom’s credit (Commissioner Motions to incumbent Tioga County PA Sheriff, Tom Young)
he has brought that message to us on multiple occasions.”
“And we are not prepared to put the county at risk under that particular circumstance. “
3. Southern Tioga School Closing
For many of us, we would have ranked this story number one. In terms of the impact on the community, this is easily the top story of the year. But in terms of the top talked-about stories, the Liberty/Blossburg school closing is number three-
STUNNING- Closing High School In Blossburg and Liberty Elementary
The Board’s Decision to begin the process for closing BOTH North Penn High School and Liberty Elementary School, due to recalculations in the differences between spending and revenue (“differentials”) has stunned residents of Liberty and Blossburg. In simplicity, the District, at current levels, is “short” almost $2 MILLION per year. Debt service payments are at around $3 million per year.
2. Mike Peditto Facebook Threats
The Mike Peditto Facebook threats understandably got the entire community’s attention. Whatever the motivation, when you post threats to children and schools on your Facebook page, it is bound to capture the wrong attention. In this case, it led to parents pulling their children out of schools, schools beefing up security and the arrest of Peditto-
Mike Peditto in Custody over Facebook Threats to Kindergartners
Here are some of the threats Peditto made online (from the state police report):
“I’m going to start ouut terrorizing the himan race on facebook. If the humans continue to ignore me here on facebook I am going to have to fo on and terrorize other things.” “look at the little collge girl (shoot her in the face).” “some people deserve to die.” “I am going to shoot some people.” “I bought a gun today at walmart.” “the kindergarten class got shot the f$%k up, a pledge of alllegiance.”
read the full article- http://tiogafreedomist.com/mike-peditto-in-custory-over-facebook-threats-to-kindergartners/
1. Liberty Murder
The number one story led all stories easily both in terms of Facebook interaction and traffic to the site. This story featured a number of articles and Facebook posts as the community learned of the terrible murder of one of their own and then dealt with the fear and uncertainty of having a killer on the loose-
Murder Shocks Liberty Community
Liberty Township - Pennsylvania State police responded to a call on Sunday, September 15 around 11 am to 7832 Route 414 in Liberty Township. A family member found the elderly couple and immediately called for assistance.
Once on the scene, State police found the body of Oliver Litzelman, age 82 of Liberty, Pa. Mr. Litzelman was assaulted prior to his death. Litzelman died from injuries he received from a gun shot wound. His wife, Edwina Litzelman, 81, of the same address was also assaulted. She was found unconscious and bleeding from a stab wound.
read the full article- http://tiogafreedomist.com/murder-shocks-liberty-community/
We have continued to press for answers on this case.
Continuing OUR investigation.
We have continued to talk to people who are witnesses and other sources about the ongoing investigation. While many local people tell us they believe the suspect the police have in custody is involved, we continue to caution readers to stay vigilant and to remind readers that, while we are certain that this arrest, we will not repeat the person’s name, was sparked as a result of the investigation of this murder, it is VERY POSSIBLE that the person arrested will be not become an official suspect in the murder case.
The local community did a great job of reporting their suspicions, and one person, who remains anonymous, is truly deserving of high praise, no matter how things sort out, This person saw a suspect who they felt met the description of the murder suspect, confronted them, and called the police.
IMPORTANT- there is another local woman with the SAME NAME as the person arrested. Please be aware of that and DO NOT harass anyone just because you think they have a similar name.
We thank SO MANY of you for getting us solid information, If we have not used your information there are one of three reasons- first, we do not want to “step on” and ongoing investigation, second we have not corroborated it and, third, we want to be careful not to paint anyone as “guilty” in the court of public opinion. This does not mean your information has not been useful, and we appreciate it a lot! This is exactly what we mean by a “people-powered free press” and YOU are making it happen!
Here is the update we originally posted, but STAY TUNED HERE for daily updates on this case….
At this point State Police were not able to say whether or not the arrest in question is related to the case. We have received no press release on this case either.
The issue of why police have not confirmed whether this arrest is or is not related may not mean that the person arrested is a suspect.
Let me explain. This can be due to the fact (which police have not confirmed) that they may have received an initial tip on this case that led to this arrest, it does not mean the person arrested is a suspect even, but some similarities of appearance and the car she bought might mean they have yet to rule her out.
We believe at this point, from all the information we have, that such a tip was made and that it played a role in this arrest, even if indirectly.
This does happen during investigations. People are looked at and other crimes are discovered, though later that person is cleared regarding any suspicion of the first crime that was being investigated.
We cannot provide answers any quicker than we get them. So far the officer involved in the arrest has not contacted me, I have put in another call requesting a return call.
As soon as we have more information we’ll share it and we continue to solicit reader input and news tips. We continue to receive these but we have not had enough corroborating evidence and information to advance the story further. Thanks to all who continue to send us information.
The original “Breaking Inquiry Article” is HERE
BREAKING INQUIRY- Bill Collier
UPDATE NUMBER TWO-
NEWS FLASH- State Police now tell WETM out of New York a WHOLE DIFFERENT STORY.
The details of our reporting are substantially accurate in terms of someone being arrested, down to the vehicle, the bad check, and we have had the name all day.
What is MYSTERIOUS is that police told WETM, and DID NOT TELL US that this arrest was “on charges of possessing a firearm illegally, theft by deception, and writing bad checks.”
The suspect is Debra Lynn Lockett of Nauvoo Road in Morris, Pa.
Police filed paperwork regarding this with the District Magistrate Court, however at no time while we were asking about an arrest did they reveal any of this information.
We cannot say if this person was ever a suspect. We can say that at 3PM we were not told one way or another, but that we would be receiving more information in a press release, which WE DID NOT, but apparently, the Wellsboro Gazette did, albeit their information was incomeplete and did not include this arrest.
So. An arrest was made, but we are being led to believe that this arrest is not related to the investigation of the homicide in Liberty.
We stand by our readers and their reporting, that a woman was arrested in that area, and that it was suspected that this was related to the homicide. We will continue tracking this.
IMPORTANT UPDATE- State Police now claim they have made no arrest…when we called earlier they would not confirm or deny ANYTHING, but surely they KNEW the answer to the question. They gave a different story to the Wellsboro Gazette.
We are leaving the ORIGINAL reporting here. and we have requested to talk to the officer who we were originally told was working on the report regarding this. The real question is: why were we given a DIFFERENT story than the Wellsboro Gazette?
If local official will not give us the right information, we will rely on our reader, who we trust more anyway.
We are working to confirm multiple reports, including sources close to the scene and to family of the victim, that the woman suspected in the Sept. 13 slaying of Oliver Litzelman, 82, of Liberty, and the stabbing and beating of his wife, Edwina, 81 has been apprehended.
State Police would not confirm this information, one way or another, but did indicate information would be forthcoming.
UPDATE: State Police informed the Wellsboro gazette that “no arrest was made” in the case. This was NOT what we were told when we called and NO PRESS RELEASE has been issued. The OFFICIAL story is that NO ARREST AS BEEN MADE.
We will continue covering this as we get more information.
According to our sources, an arrest has been made in Nauvoo at a trailer on Nauvoo Road.
We have been given a name by three sources, however we will hold off on giving a name until we have better confirmation. The Tioga County Prison was unable to confirm at this time whether the person arrested was taken to the Prison or whether the name we have is the right name, although they could not say that we did not have the right name.
While we have MANY reports from readers and witnesses regarding the name, we are VERY careful not to impugn an innocent person, so please bear with us.
Readers in the area contacted us about police activity, including a helicopter and one witness said they saw numerous police vehicles around a trailer.
Apparently, from the reports we have received, the suspect “slipped up” and this was how she was caught. According to a source who wished to remain anonymous the suspect was scoping out another home from the road with binoculars in the Nauvoo area.
An individual confronted her and then called police, who set up around the Nauvoo area. Apparently she lived in the Nauvoo area as well, and was driving a car which the citizen who confronted her thought was like the one that has been described in this case. If true, and we have no reason to doubt it, this means that a sharp citizen could have possibly saved someone’s life.
According to multiple sources who knew some of the people involved, the suspect bought a green sedan from a local used car seller in the area and the check bounced a day or so before the murder. According to reports, she returned the car to him on Saturday and told him to put it in the garage till she could cover the check. Police would later seize the vehicle after serving a warrant on the seller.
As the stories are the same in vital details, and in light of the response from the State Police, we are breaking this news as an INQUIRY article, which means, using our 21st century people-powered news model, we are seeking more collaboration from our readers.
Please contact email@example.com or message us on Facebok. We will keep your identity private.
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