Oil City 13-year-old charged with killing grandparents

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A 13-year-old boy has been charged as an adult in the shooting deaths of his grandparents, who were found dead in their Sandycreek Township home in Venango County last night.

Zachary Proper, of Oil City, was arrested sometime overnight and charged this morning with two counts of homicide in the deaths of Dorothy Fross, 67, and her 69-year-old husband, George.

Trooper David Wargo of the Pennsylvania State Police said investigators are still working to determine the timeline of events, but believe the Frosses were shot in their home, located on Polk Cutoff, about 4 p.m. Sunday. Police discovered their bodies about 8:30 p.m. Monday after family members expressed concern that the couple could not be reached.

Trooper Wargo would not say how police linked Zachary to the crime, saying only it was "through his connection with the family." He lived about 10 miles away in Oil City and occasionally stayed with them, he said.

The trooper said investigators have not determined a motive for the crime, but there no evidence the couple was robbed nor signs of a break in.

PG graphic: Location of double homicide
(Click image for larger version)

Zachary was arraigned before District Judge Michael Snyder in Franklin, Pa., at 4:30 a.m. He was remanded to the Venango County Jail without bail

In an interview with Oil City Police Chief Robert Wenner, Zachary admitted to killing the couple because, he said, they had called his mother a "whore" and had otherwise spoken badly about her.

On Sunday afternoon, according to an affidavit filed by police, he waited for his grandfather to leave for the store and used a bolt cutter to break into a gun safe.

Armed with a handgun, he put his headphones on to dampen the noise of the gunshot, sneaked up behind his grandmother, turned his head and pulled the trigger, according to the affidavit.

He then called his grandfather to let him know that he would meet him at the front door to help him carry in groceries. When Mr. Fross arrived, Zachary took a pizza out of his hands and then waited for him to walk by. He then shot him in the shoulder, according to the affidavit.

Mr. Fross yelled, and Zachary said he then shot him repeatedly until the gun jammed, police wrote.

He drove his grandparents' car to Oil City, where he dumped the gun in a storm drain and spent the night partying at a cousin's house, he told police.

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Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee. First Published October 9, 2012 1:45 PM


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