Man fatally shoots estranged ex-wife then kills himself after South Strabane standoff
September 28, 2013 4:00 AM
An investigator at a murder-suicide site on Arrowhead Drive in South Strabane.
By Molly Born Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Terry McCutcheon filed for divorce, a process that took eight years to finalize. She gave her husband another chance. That didn't work out, but he still couldn't let go.
Harold McCutcheon Jr., 56, of Claysville, ended the longtime troubled relationship for both of them Friday, fatally shooting his ex-wife, Terry, 52, then killing himself.
Police found the two dead after an all-night standoff with township and tactical officers.
Mr. McCutcheon went to his ex-wife's home in South Strabane, killed her and also shot her boyfriend, police said.
That man, Richard Carly, of South Strabane, was shot in the face but managed to escape the home and was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital, where he underwent surgery, Det. Ken Torboli Jr. said. He was in critical condition but is expected to survive, police said.
Washington County Coroner Timothy Warco said Mr. McCutcheon died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Tactical officers found him in a bedroom of the home after he held police at bay for hours.
Ms. McCutcheon also was found dead in a bedroom of a gunshot wound to the chest, Mr. Warco said. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Officers went to Arrowhead Drive at 11:49 p.m. Thursday for a report that someone had been shot.
"A 911 caller reported that a man walked into their residence with an apparent gunshot wound, and told the caller that he had been shot at another residence," South Strabane police Sgt. Drew Hilk said.
Officers contacted the Washington Area SWAT team after hearing more gunshots, the sergeant said. Just after 6 a.m. tactical officers entered a home on that street and found the McCutcheons.
Police did not fire any shots, Sgt. Mike Manfredi said. "But when police were present shots were fired," he said.
Court records show Ms. McCutcheon took legal action against her ex-husband just last week; she filed a private complaint with District Judge Jay Weller Sept. 18 accusing Mr. McCutcheon of harassment.
The complaint says she was at Meadows Racetrack and Casino Sept. 14 with a man police believe was Mr. Carly when, she said, Mr. McCutcheon started harassing her.
Before that, court records show, Ms. McCutcheon first filed for divorce in 1988. That filing was withdrawn and she filed for divorce again in 1990, the same year another restraining order was filed, although details of that were not available Friday. Divorce filings cited an "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage," but it wasn't finalized until 1996.
Those documents also show Ms. McCutcheon was a nurse at Washington Hospital, and her husband worked as a truck driver. A hospital spokesman didn't return a message.
In April 2000, Mr. McCutcheon "became angry" and squeezed his ex-wife's face with his fist, leaving a mark, police wrote in a criminal compliant. He was charged with simple assault and placed on 12 months probation and ordered to take anger management classes, court records show.
The couple was divorced, but had been living together when the assault occurred, police wrote in the compliant.
Ms. McCutcheon applied for a restraining order. In June, while arguing over child support for their son, Mr. McCutcheon picked up a plastic chair and motioned as if he were going to throw it at her, then called her on the phone later, in violation of the order, police said.
For that offense, he was found guilty of indirect criminal contempt and sentenced to 45 days probation.
Lou Haddad, who lives in a townhouse across the street, said he first heard a "very loud gunshot that was very close" about midnight.
By 2:30 a.m., he saw tactical officers outside and heard one announce, "It's the police. Come out with your hands up."
A short time later, he and neighbors were evacuated and waited hours in the State Farm insurance parking lot inside a Meadows Casino shuttle bus. They returned home about 7:30 a.m. At one point, two bullets went through Mr. Haddad's front door.
"I thought it was a dream," he said. "We don't experience this in South Strabane."