Suspect in slaying arraigned at hospital
PITTSBURGH — Jack Edmundson Jr., of Saltsburg, the man accused of fatally shooting Frank Petro in Petro’s Tunnelton gunshop on New Year’s Eve, was arraigned Friday at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Indiana County District Attorney Pat Dougherty said this morning that he and Magisterial District Judge Guy Haberl, of Indiana, traveled to Pittsburgh Friday to arraign Edmundson, 43, in his hospital room where he is recovering from surgery for a gunshot wound. Edmundson was wounded in an exchange of shots during a hand-to-hand struggle with Petro, according to state police.
Prosecutors were not able to arraign Edmundson until Friday when the determination was made that he had recovered sufficiently.
“He was awake. He was able to understand what was happening,” Dougherty said of Edmundson during the arraignment in the unusual setting of a hospital room.
State police at Indiana had charged Edmundson with shooting Petro, 62, on the afternoon of Dec. 31 inside Frank’s Gun & Taxidermy Shop, a business Petro operated in the basement of a house along Hogue Street. Police said a surveillance video also showed Edmundson was preparing to start a fire in the shop after Petro was shot.
Investigators have speculated the violent confrontation may have been connected to a purported extortion incident last fall.
At Friday’s arraignment, Edmundson was formally charged with criminal homicide; aggravated assault; criminal attempt at arson; and robbery and theft. Dougherty said the robbery and theft charges were added last week after more review of the surveillance video showed Edmundson went through Petro’s wallet after Petro was shot.
Haberl did not set bail for Edmundson, and Dougherty anticipates Edmundson will remain hospitalized a few more days. He is under guard in his hospital room by state police from Indiana or Indiana County sheriff’s deputies.
Dougherty said when Edmundson is well enough to be discharged from the hospital he will be incarcerated at the Indiana County Jail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 16, but that is contingent on Edmundson’s discharge from the hospital.