The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

February 9, 2008

More suspects surface in Conneaut murder

Gruesome killing was not hate crime, says chief

CONNEAUT — Police are anxious to talk to at least two more people in connection with the murder and dismemberment of an Ashtabula man late last year, said Conneaut Police Chief Jon Arcaro.

“We’re looking at two additional persons of interest at this point,” Arcaro said Friday.

As a result of speaking to several other people, police are keen to interview two specific individuals, Arcaro said. If charges result, a half dozen people will have been arrested in the stabbing death of Chyrone Kelley, 31.

“It amazes me the number of people involved,” said City Law Director Lori Lamer.

Meanwhile, Arcaro squelched rumors in the community the killing was racially motivated. Kelley was a black man, while the defendants are white. Drugs, not race, remains the motive, he said.

“We’re not seeing any hate crime motive,” Arcaro said. “There is no evidence supporting a hate crime or that it was racially motivated.”

Rumors were possible spurred by FBI involvement in the case. The FBI joined the case only when police initially thought the crime may have crossed state lines, not for any civil rights issue, Arcaro said.

Kelley was last seen Nov. 3 in Conneaut. Police believe he was killed later that day in a Day Street building in the city’s harbor district. The body was dismembered in the building and the remains dumped in and around a Netcher Road pond in Denmark Township, police have said.

In custody are:

n Alan Dunford, 23, who moved to Edinboro, Pa., from Conneaut, shortly after Kelley’s disappearance in early November. He is charged with complicity to commit murder.

n Tiffany West, 18, Dunford’s girlfriend, also charged with complicity to commit murder

n Shawn Curtin, 24, of Harbor St., Conneaut, charged with obstructing justice and gross abuse of a corpse

n Cary Dunford, 45, 15 E. Satin St., Jefferson, charged with obstructing justice, complicity/tampering with evidence and complicity in the abuse of corpse, all felonies, plus the misdemeanor charge of failing to report a crime.

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