WJAC-TV: Men Accused of Brookville Girl’s Death Headed for Trial

CLARION – Two men will stand trial for the death of Devan Knapp, 19, of Brookville.  On Jan. 15, Knapp was found dead inside her car in Millcreek Township, Clarion County.

Joel Tanner Stark, 32, of Rimersburg waived his right to a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey C. Miller. He’s been charged with abuse of a corpse; conspiracy/abuse of corpse; conspiracy/tamper with or fabricate physical evidence; and criminal use of a communication facility. Stark’s bail is set at $25,000 unsecured.

Shawn Ryan Carr, 29, of Kittanning had charges held for court following a preliminary hearing before Miller. Carr has been charged with third-degree murder; involuntary manslaughter; drug delivery resulting in death; criminal use of a communication facility; aggravated assault; intentional possession by person not registered; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver; use/possession of drug paraphernalia; conspiracy/abuse of corpse; conspiracy/tamper with or fabricate physical evidence; abuse of corpse; tamper with or fabricate physical evidence; recklessly endangering another person; and simple assault. Carr’s bail is set at $500,000 monetary.

Trooper William Craddock of the Pennsylvania State Police testified first as one of the lead investigators for the case. On Jan. 15, he found Knapp inside her car. She had a syringe under her left hand in her lap. Craddock said there also appeared to be four stamp bags of heroin in her car and two syringes located in the gear shift of the vehicle.

When asked by Carr’s attorney, Craddock said there was a puncture in her right arm. However, he wasn’t certain whether or not Knapp had more punctures on her body.

Jeffrey Blymiller, who encountered Knapp in the early morning hours of Jan. 12, testified next. Blymiller said he was at the tavern across the street from the Uni-Mart in East Brady. He had never met Knapp.

He walked across the street to Knapp because he noticed she had a car that he was interested in. She showed him the interior of the car and its engine. He described her as “bouncy” and said “she was full of energy.”

Blymiller said Knapp was with another man at the time. A few days later, he observed a picture of Knapp on Facebook, which indicated she was missing. Blymiller called police.

Stark testified that he was in contact with Carr on Jan. 11. Through text messages, he asked Carr to get him a bundle of heroin, which is the equivalent of 10 stamp bags. He said Carr returned with the drugs later that night. Carr was with Knapp.

Stark said it was the first time he’d met Knapp, and he observed her consuming alcohol from a soda bottle. He said that he, Carr and Knapp decided to get high together.

Carr allegedly told Stark the heroin he picked up was “fire,” meaning it was good. Stark said that Knapp told Carr she wanted to get high. He said Knapp put a belt around her arm and Carr injected her with the drug. Stark believed Knapp was injected with 10 stamp bags worth of heroin.

After Knapp was injected, Stark said she passed out on the couch inside his trailer in Rimersburg. He said she was breathing weird and somewhat incoherent. Stark said Carr and another woman carried Knapp to the bathtub and attempted to perform CPR on Knapp.

According to Stark, he and the other woman who was later identified as Adonica Vigus told Carr to take Knapp to the hospital. Both testified that Carr refused, because he had several warrants out for his arrest.

Vigus and Stark testified that Knapp started to regain consciousness and ended up sleeping on the couch with Carr. They said a few hours later, Carr came into their bedroom, saying he thought Knapp had died. Vigus said she had a difficult time feeling a pulse on Knapp. Vigus believed Knapp had slipped into a coma, because she could still feel air coming from her nose and her body was still warm.

At that point, Vigus and Stark said Carr put Knapp in the car to take her to the hospital. Stark said Carr returned a few minutes later, stating that he couldn’t do it. Vigus said when Carr left again with Stark following him she thought they were going to the hospital.

Stark said he followed Carr to the Corsica area, where he met another woman. According to the criminal complaint, Carr met up with the woman to purchase new needles. Stark said he then followed Carr to the Fisher area, where he had planned to leave Knapp’s body in her car.

Stark said that Carr wanted to do this, so that it appeared that she overdosed on a back road by herself. Stark said Carr took his shoes off, so that he didn’t leave any shoe marks. He said Knapp was left in her car with the new needles and a few bags of heroin.

During cross-examination, Carr’s attorney asked Stark and Vigus why they never called 911. He reiterated there were three able-bodied adults in the trailer that night, and none of them called 911 or took Knapp to the hospital.

 

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