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Victim dies after attack

by on December 21, 2013 11:00 AM

PITTSBURGH — Officials said a Derry Township woman died Thursday at a Pittsburgh hospital, almost three weeks after they said she was shot by her former boyfriend at her home near Torrance in Westmoreland County.

Holly George, also known as Holly Embry, died at UPMC Presbyterian, where she was being treated for nine gunshot wounds suffered on Dec. 1.

Whether the accused gunman, Arthur Whitfield II, of Josephine, would be charged in connection with George’s death remained uncertain Friday. Officials at the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office made no immediate ruling on the cause or manner of her death.

Whitfield, 51, was held for trial on attempted homicide and related charges following a preliminary hearing Dec. 11 in Bradenville District Court. He remains in Westmoreland County Prison and faces formal arraignment in January in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said Friday that additional charges, if warranted, would be filed in the district court.

Peck’s office arranged with pathologist Cyril Wecht, of Pittsburgh, to perform an autopsy on George’s remains.

Wecht told the Gazette that he completed the autopsy Friday morning, but said he could discuss his findings only with the district attorney.

“The autopsy is done and then further studies will be undertaken, including a review of the hospital record,” Wecht said.

State police charged that Whitfield entered George’s home, then forced his way into a second-floor bedroom where she was watching TV with her 15-year-old daughter, Savannah Embry. After opening fire on George with a .380-caliber handgun, Whitfield fled the house and eluded capture by search teams for about five hours, until neighbors spotted him hitchhiking along Route 217 and called the police, according to reports.

In addition to attempted homicide, Whitfield was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, burglary, criminal trespass, discharging a firearm in an occupied structure and prohibited possession of a firearm.

Funeral arrangements for George, 35, are being handled by Shoemaker Funeral Home, Blairsville.

Chauncey Ross is the Gazette’s fixture at Indiana Area and Homer-Center school board meetings, has been seen with pen and notepad in area police stations and courts, and is something of an Open Records Act and Sunshine Law advocate. He also manages the Gazette’s websites and answers your questions about them.
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