A Stowe man compared himself to the father of the atomic bomb and carved his and his ex-girlfriend's initials separated by a heart onto a bullet before killing her Wednesday, police said.
Daniel Andrew Sheets, 25, was arraigned Saturday on a homicide charge in the death of Elizabeth Cannon, who friends say ended their four-year relationship and moved out of the house they shared five days before she was shot in an upstairs bedroom at the home.
Mr. Sheets also faces a charge of causing or risking catastrophe for turning on a gas stove in the house at 1513 Broadway St. in a botched suicide attempt after the slaying.
"She was ready to move on," said Lynne Deliman, a close friend of Ms. Cannon's. "That's why he did what he did, because she was done."
A criminal complaint filed by Allegheny County homicide detectives describes a gun-toting Mr. Sheets as paranoid about Ms. Cannon cheating on him, threatening her and acting suicidal in the days leading up to the murder.
On Nov. 11, he pulled out a gun and threatened to hurt himself, said a relative of Ms. Cannon's. She told police he believed Ms. Cannon was seeing other men and on several occasions threatened to kill them both. The same day a friend of the couple said Mr. Sheets made similar threats.
At 2 a.m. Wednesday the friend received a phone call from Mr. Sheets, who was "expressing extreme anger" and claiming Ms. Cannon told him she cheated on him. The friend went to the house and said Mr. Sheets was acting suicidal and had a noose tied with blue rope. Several notes and a handgun were sitting on a desk in the bedroom.
Ms. Cannon's relative said she spoke with her at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and learned she was with Mr. Sheets at the Stowe home. The relative made multiple calls to the couple at 1:30 p.m. and no one answered.
The couple's roommate returned home around 2:45 p.m. and called 911 after finding Mr. Sheets unconscious in the kitchen. He was treated at Allegheny General Hospital.
Detectives found a loaded .38-caliber semi-automatic handgun with blood on the handle on the desk across from Ms. Cannon's body in the bedroom.
A bullet with the initials "E.C." and "A.S." and a heart symbol between them was sitting on a nearby desk chair. Several friends told police that Mr. Sheets said he had a bullet with her name on it days before the attack.
"She thought it was just talk," said Teresa Yakubik, 53, whose Stowe home Ms. Cannon moved into Saturday.
"She really believed in her heart of hearts that he would not hurt her. She did not feel threatened by him. Why, I don't know."
Three typed suicide letters believed to be written by Mr. Sheets were also in the bedroom.
One addressed to "Mom and Dad" said "I'm sorry for the pain and grief this must cause you guys" and ended with "don't grieve for me."
Another addressed to "Liz" was found torn up on the floor.
A third letter to "everyone" referred to a quote by Julius Robert Oppenheimer, a leading member of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb used in World War II, whom investigators believe Mr. Sheets was fascinated with. "To sum up my feelings I must quote J. Robert Oppenheimer: 'I am become death. The destroyer of worlds,' " the letter read.
The quote is from an interview where Oppenheimer said dropping the atomic bomb reminded him of Hindu scripture in which the god Vishnu calls himself "the destroyer of worlds."
A Facebook post made on the morning of the attack on a page that friends identified as belonging to Mr. Sheets linked to a YouTube video of the interview.
A friend of the couple said Mr. Sheets also referenced Oppenheimer on Sunday, saying he would become like "Oppenheimer, the destroyer of worlds," and kill himself and Ms. Cannon if she cheated on him.
Mr. Sheets was arraigned Saturday, denied bail and taken to Allegheny County Jail.
A funeral for Ms. Cannon will be held today at 11 a.m. at Timothy K. Slater Funeral Services, 425 Brownsville Road, Mount Oliver.neigh_west
Taryn Luna: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1985.