New Castle News

Local News

June 11, 2012

Police continue homicide, fire probe

NEW CASTLE — More charges are possible in the homicide of Arnold Eugene Miller, whose body was found after a South Side fire.

New Castle Police Chief Bobby Salem said the case remains under investigation and others still could be charged in connection with the shooting death and apparent arson.

At least four other people were in the room when Miller was shot, according to a witness.

Miller, 46, of the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh, died from three gunshot wounds to the head, abdomen and pelvis on Feb. 24. His body was burned beyond recognition in a fire that broke out in a second-floor apartment at 309 Phillips St. around 5 a.m. the next day.

An eyewitness gave police the account of how DeAngelo Mercer, 23, of 322 Halco Drive, held a gun to Miller’s head and pulled the trigger, execution-style, in the presence of five other people, four of them men.

The witness said Miller was crouched down, almost falling backwards, and Mercer was standing there, holding Miller by his collar with his left hand and pointing a gun at Miller’s head with his right.

Another witness indicated the squabble was over Mercer wanting money from Miller.

Although Miller had been staying in the apartment, police said, he was not an official tenant.

Police filed charges against Mercer after they arrested him around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“He was walking on Highland at Park avenues and when the officer saw him, he started to run,” Salem said, noting he felt Mercer had a suspicion they were going to arrest him.

“A canine officer happened to be right there and they told him they were going to let the dog loose and he stopped,” Salem said.

Mercer is charged with criminal homicide, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of simple assault. He is in the Lawrence County jail without bail.

The police had the charges ready to file against Mercer, but waited until they found him to file them, Salem said.

“We’d been looking for him for a day or two.”

Salem said he believes the fire was determined to have been arson, and charges also are a possibility in connection with the fire.

(Email: dmorris@ncnewsonline.com)

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