Two arrested in local homicide case

Video courtesy of WCTV, Riley Holsinger

Police have released details in the double homicide case that opened on Valentine’s Day. Waynesburg police arrested and charged Cortland J. Rogers, 28, and Shawna M. Smith, 23, both from Waynesburg, for the deaths of Judy Hunter and Kevin Williford.

Waynesburg police said they arrested Rogers and Smith earlier the same day the bodies were found at a residence on South Morris Street for an assault case that involved “friends” of Williford and Hunter.

“We arrested them on Valentine’s Day in the morning for another crime and I believe while we actually had them in custody here is when I was notified of the death,” Waynesburg Police Chief Tom Ankrom said at a news conference. “At that time, I didn’t know that there was any involvement.”

Interviewing people and evidence found helped Ankrom and the police through the investigation.

“We interviewed people at the scene that were actually outside and talked to us,” Ankrom said. “Those conversations led to interviews, which led to statements being made and just kept going down the line.”

According to Ankrom, the four involved in the homicide case once lived together, but no longer did by the time of the incident.

Ankrom said that police would have to wait an unknown amount of time for a coroner’s report and autopsy to give details on what day the victims were killed.

According to the Magisterial District Court summary, Rogers and Smith were both arraigned on the following charges: two counts of criminal homicide, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of recklessly endangering another person, one count of criminal mischief, one count of burglary, one count of obstruction of administration of law or other government function, and two counts of criminal conspiracy engaging in criminal homicide.

Both were remanded to  Greene County Prison when bond was denied. A preliminary hearing is slated to happen Friday, March 4.

Greene County District Attorney Dave Russo indicated he is potentially exploring the death penalty in this case during the press conference with Ankrom.

“[The death penalty] is something that I am considering,” Russo said. “I have to review all of the evidence, [I’ve] already gone through all of the aggravating factors.”

Despite Rogers and Smith being charged, the case continues.

“The investigation is not over,” Russo said. “It’s going to continuing for some time, so other details will evolve from that.” 

“A lot of the evidence has to go to labs and there is so many pieces of the puzzle that have to be taken care of at certain times,” Ankrom said.

This is the first homicide that has occurred in Ankrom’s 18-year career.

“This was not a common incident,” Ankrom said. “It’s safe for me to say the public is safe.”

Editor’s note: Micah Leith contributed to the reporting in this story.