Man charged in Westmoreland County killing accused of trying to hire hitman to kill witness

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A man accused in the August shooting death of a Westmoreland County man faces new charges today after Pennsylvania State Police said he offered to pay a fellow inmate to kill a possible witness for the prosecution.

Lee J. Atwood, 54, of Irwin, has been in the Westmoreland County Prison on a first-degree murder charge since his Aug. 13 arrest in the killing of George R. Williams, 46.

Defense attorney Martin A. Dietz could not be immediately reached for comment.

Williams was found dead Aug. 12 in the driveway of his friend's house. That friend, Adam Lilliock, of South Huntingdon, was interviewed during the investigation.

State police said Mr. Atwood went to that home to "collect a debt" from Williams. A fight started between the two, and Mr. Atwood shot Williams, state police said.

In a criminal complaint, state police wrote that Mr. Atwood was concerned about Mr. Lilliock's testimony and told a jail informant he would pay him to put "two bullets in his head" and "to do it quick" upon the man's release.

Mr. Atwood offered him $1,500 to kill Mr. Lilliock -- $750 now and the rest later, state police wrote. The informant said Mr. Atwood described the inside of Mr. Lilliock's home and where he could find guns.

Mr. Atwood was scheduled to be arraigned today on the misdemeanor charges of solicitation and conspiracy to commit murder.

breaking - neigh_westmoreland

Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944. Twitter: @borntolede.


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