INDIANA – A Pennsylvania State Trooper was arrested Thursday and charged with the 2006 murder of a prominent Indiana County dentist, John J. Yelenic.
Attorney General Tom Corbett identified the defendant as Kevin Foley, 42, of Indiana.
Corbett, along with Indiana County District Attorney Robert Bell and Pennsylvania state police troopers, announced the charges during a news conference at the Indiana County Courthouse.
Corbett said the April 13, 2006, homicide of Dr. John J. Yelenic, 39, was placed before a statewide investigating grand jury in May 2007. The grand jury found evidence linking Foley to Dr. Yelenic’s murder.
“It is extremely difficult to have to arrest a member of the law enforcement community, but as in any case, we follow the evidence wherever it leads,” Corbett said.
“State police worked side-by-side with the attorney general’s office and the Indiana County district attorney’s office in this investigation,” said State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller. “It is a sad day for the Pennsylvania State Police when one of our members is arrested. But everyone, no matter what his or her position in society, must be held accountable for their actions.”
The Dr. John J. Yelenic homicide
Corbett said the grand jury found that Dr. John J. Yelenic was killed in the early morning hours of April 13, 2006. Yelenic’s body was discovered in the living room of his home located at 233 South Spring St., located within the Borough of Blairsville, Indiana County.
Corbett said that Yelenic died after receiving multiple laceration wounds, most of which were consistent with slashing knife wounds. An autopsy found that the cause of death was exsanguination, or blood loss, as a result of lacerated wounds of the scalp, face, neck, trunk, and right arm.
According to the grand jury, blood pools and smears in various locations inside the residence – including on the walls and furniture located in the foyer, hallway, and living room – indicated that a struggle had taken place. A window next to the front door was broken and blood was observed on and around the window. The window curtain and two curtain rods were bent, twisted off mounting hooks, and soaked in blood lying on the floor in the foyer.
Because the crime scene indicated that a struggle had taken place, a blood sample and fingernail clippings were obtained from Dr. Yelenic and sent to an FBI lab for DNA analysis.
Corbett said Foley played in an ice hockey game at the Center Ice Arena off route 22 in Salem Township on April 12, 2006. Foley was seen arriving at the ice arena at approximately 10:30 p.m. He played in the hockey game and left the ice arena at approximately midnight.
The grand jury also revealed that when Foley left the arena he did not have any apparent injuries. Following the murder of Dr. Yelenic on April 13, 2006, Foley was observed with a fresh, 1- to 2-inch gash that appeared to be red and swollen above his left eye. Another small scratch was seen below the left eye.
Corbett said Dr. Yelenic was found barefoot; however, bloody shoe prints were also discovered at the crime scene. Investigators sent photographs and CD images of the prints to the FBI lab, where tests indicated the prints were from an ASICS “Gel Creed” or “Gel Creed Plus” shoes, size 10 through 12-and-a-half.
The grand jury revealed that Foley was regularly seen wearing ASICS running shoes and would purchase shoes directly from ASICS through a discount program offered by the company to individuals in law enforcement.
On Aug. 12, 2003, an order was placed to ASICS by Foley for a pair of Gel-Creed TN217 running shoes, size 10. However, the company had discontinued that style, and instead shipped a pair of ASICS Gel-Creed Plus TN327 running shoes, size 10 to Trooper Foley on Aug. 18, 2003.
The grand jury stated that after the murder of Yelenic, Foley was observed wearing only Nike running shoes.
Corbett said surveillance video taken from two businesses indicates that a vehicle matching Foley’s was near Yelenic’s home within the time frame that the murder occurred.
Corbett said the grand jury found that Foley had a well-known hatred for Dr. Yelenic. Foley had been having a romantic relationship with Yelenic’s estranged wife, Michele. For more than three years, Yelenic and his wife had been going through a bitter divorce.
Corbett said that at the end of 2004, Foley moved into Michele Yelenic’s residence on Susan Drive, Indiana, with her three children, including Dr. Yelenic and Michele’s adopted son.
According to the grand jury, Foley publicly stated how he “wished that Dr. Yelenic would die.” On one occasion, Foley allegedly asked another state trooper if he would like to help him kill Dr. Yelenic, although the trooper did not take the comment seriously at the time. Foley’s comments regarding his hatred for Dr. Yelenic were allegedly a daily occurrence.
Additionally, the grand jury found that it was not uncommon for Foley to be seen playing with a knife. It was revealed that Foley was always opening, closing and flipping his knife. However, after Yelenic’s murder, Foley was never observed playing with his knife again.
Foley enlisted in the State Police on Jan. 3, 1994, and graduated from the State Police Academy on June 24, 1994. He was assigned to Troop A, Indiana, where he has served since that time.
Foley was arrested and charged with criminal homicide for the murder of Dr. John J. Yelenic.
Foley was arraigned before Indiana County President Judge William J. Martin and lodged in the Indiana County Prison without bail. He will be prosecuted in Indiana County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Krastek and District Attorney Bell.
Corbett thanked District Attorney Bell’s Office, the Pennsylvania state police and local law enforcement for their assistance in this investigation.