New Castle News

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August 22, 2013

Son accused in shooting death of May's Donuts owner

NEW CASTLE — The owner of May’s Donuts has been shot to death, apparently at the hand of his son.

State police Thursday arrested Michael Joseph Burrelli in the death of his 52-year-old father, Charles David Burrelli of 5 Fruitland Drive, Neshannock Township.

The shooting occurred in a former car dealership garage, now a warehouse, located at Kosciuszko Way and West State Street in Union Township.

Police say an argument between the father and son about cell phone usage had escalated into a fistfight during the night Wednesday into Thursday, and Charles Burrelli knocked his son to the ground. His son then shot him seven times at close range, according to preliminary reports, pending an autopsy.

Police further allege that after the shooting, the younger Burrelli used a hydraulic hoist and put his dead father into a large, white metallic bin, then into a green Jeep Cherokee. He told police he intended to dispose of his father’s body at Moraine State Park.

A trooper at the scene said the father was already inside the Jeep when Union Township police arrived.

Michael Burrelli, 28, who lived at the same address as his father, was arrested at the scene around 5 a.m. after being questioned. Troopers say he admitted to the shooting.

He is in the Lawrence County jail without bond, charged with criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

Union Township police had received a call from a family friend who wanted them to check on Charles Burrelli’s welfare. When they arrived at the building shortly before 2 a.m., Burrelli already was dead and they summoned state police for assistance.

Ron Kesten, a Butler trooper at the scene yesterday morning, said the deceased  was inside the green Cherokee parked next to the building and it appeared that his son was preparing to move the body from the area.

The trooper said Michael Burrelli was on the property when police arrived.

Kesten said the gun used in the shooting was found at another location.

According to court records, Michael Burrelli used a 9-millimeter Baretta pistol that he had on his right hip in a holster. When the argument with his father became physical, police said, the son fired seven shots at Charles Burrelli, which killed him.

Charles Burrelli was pronounced dead at 2 a.m. by  Lawrence County Coroner Russell S. Noga. Attempts to reach Noga were unsuccessful.

Police said the son admitted to using bleach to clean up the bloody scene, and he hid the spent bullet casings.

Michael Burrelli was arraigned late yesterday afternoon by District Judge Jennifer L. Nicholson, who set his preliminary hearing for Aug. 29 in Central Court.

Charles Burrelli and his son took over May’s Donuts, its name and its recipes in 2009 when the former owners, the May family, sold it after 68 years. Burrelli and his son were operating the business at 1225 E. Washington St. together. They also have a shop on Wilmington Road.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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