CLEARFIELD – Three suspects charged for their alleged involvement in the murder of Chase Anderson, 19, of Curwensville in August of last year were in court Wednesday.
Denny S. Bailey, 38, of Woodland and Kenja K. Tew, 22, of Glen Richey have been charged by Trooper David Patrick with criminal homicide and criminal conspiracy to commit criminal homicide.
Chantell R. Demi, 26, of Woodland has also been charged with criminal conspiracy to commit criminal homicide.
Additional charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, abuse of corpse, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy have been filed against all three suspects.
Bailey and Demi had all charges bound over to county court following a preliminary hearing Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail. Tew waived his right to a hearing in his case.
Mark Kelly, current Curwensville police chief, testified that Anderson’s mother came to his department Aug. 22, 2017. She reported her son as having been missing for approximately one week.
Kelly had her complete a missing person declaration and he entered the information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.
Kelly said he later received information from a witness who had heard Tew make a statement that Anderson “wasn’t coming back alive” or “wasn’t coming back at all.”
On Aug. 29, Kelly requested assistance from the Pennsylvania State Police due to the investigation becoming more than what his one-man department could handle.
The next day, Cpl. Adam Gibson, Clearfield PSP crime unit supervisor, said state police took over the investigation and activated a major case team.
Tew was identified as a “person of interest,” he said, and apprehended by troopers in an unrelated case and on a warrant through the Clearfield Borough police.
Gibson said Tew told investigators that Anderson had been murdered and he was willing to take them to the scene, located in a remote, wooded area in Pike Township.
At approximately midnight, troopers drove Tew into the woods, where they parked and hiked back in with him. Gibson located burnt remains in a state of decomposition.
Dr. Dennis Dirkmaat, a forensic anthropology expert from Mercyhurst College, processed the scene and conducted an examination of the remains. The remains were later officially identified as Anderson.
Gibson assisted with an interview of Bailey in September of 2017. Bailey said on the night of the murder, he and Tew had plans to take Anderson into the woods to tie and beat him up. They wanted to scare him.
“They used the ruse of a drug package,” Gibson testified. He said Bailey told investigators that once there, Tew put Anderson in a sleeper hold and he punched him in the face with brass knuckles, which cut Anderson.
According to Bailey, Tew let go of Anderson and a scuffle ensued between he (Bailey) and Anderson. Bailey said he witnessed Tew stab Anderson about three or four times in the chest area.
Gibson said Bailey claimed that “he went out” and was like “dazed” at this point. When he woke up, Bailey said Tew was dumping gas on Anderson’s body and told him “Chase was dead.”
Bailey also led investigators, including Gibson, to a wooded area near his residence Sept. 19, 2017. Gibson said Bailey showed them where he’d buried a bag with the murder weapons – a set of brass knuckles and a knife.
Trooper David Patrick, a Clearfield PSP criminal investigator, testified with regard to multiple interviews of Tew. On the day of the murder, Tew said they were hanging out at Bailey’s residence and there was discussion of “getting rid of Chase.”
According to Tew, Bailey was upset because Anderson was having intimate relations with his girlfriend. He also told Tew that he should be upset with Anderson, as well, for “snitching” on him in a burglary case.
Tew said he, Bailey and Anderson drove to the wooded area. He grabbed Anderson and put him in a chokehold while Bailey punched him in the face with brass knuckles.
Bailey and Anderson then engaged in a scuffle in the briars. Tew said Bailey asked him for help, but he refused to.
When Anderson went to the ground, Tew said Bailey got on top of his back and he (Bailey) stabbed Anderson multiple times.
Tew also admitted that he stabbed Anderson a couple times, before Bailey dumped gasoline on his body and set it on fire.
Patrick said that Demi helped Tew and Bailey clean up when they returned home after the murder. He said Tew’s and Bailey’s clothes were burned at Bailey’s residence because they had blood on them.
Patrick assisted with interviews of Demi. She said she was aware Bailey and Tew had plans to take Anderson into the woods to beat him up and scare him. Patrick said in her last interview, she told him the original plan was to murder Anderson.
Demi said Bailey was upset with Anderson because he’d peeked in on her and Bailey having sex. He instructed her to go to the store and purchase duct tape, garbage bags, etc. that were later used in the homicide.
Patrick said another investigator went to the store and obtained surveillance video of Demi purchasing the items. He said after buying the items, Demi gave them to Bailey.
Demi admitted to Patrick that she picked out the location, which was property that belonged to her relative. She said she’d taken Tew up to the area, so that he would know where it was at.
Former Clearfield County Coroner Mike Morris testified that Anderson’s body was left in the woods for some time and subjected to the weather, insects and other elements.
He said while there was reason to believe the remains were that of Anderson, the body had been burned and also started the process of decomposition. The remains, he said, were officially identified by a forensic dentist.
Morris said Dirkmaat determined Anderson had died from multiple stab wounds to his chest, back and skull; he ruled the manner of his death as a homicide. Morris said as part of his examination, he observed at least two dozen wounds.
Demi, Bailey and Joseph Clayton Ralston, 38, of Curwensville have also been charged for their efforts to destroy evidence of the homicide.
Charges of arson, criminal conspiracy to commit arson and tampering with evidence have been filed against Demi and Ralston. Bailey has been charged with conspiracy to commit arson and tampering with evidence.
Both Demi and Bailey had their charges bound over to county court after the hearing Wednesday.
As part of his testimony, Patrick said Bailey admitted to instructing Demi to get rid of the Ford Explorer that was used in the homicide. He told her that if she needed help to get a hold of his friend, Ralston.
Patrick said this was confirmed in an interview with Demi, who said she located the vehicle in Curwensville and painted it black. Then, she drove it to a wooded area in Lawrence Township where she and Ralston set it on fire.
Bailey, Tew and Demi have been incarcerated on parole violations since the beginning of the investigation, according to a previous report issued by District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr.
Ralston was arraigned Wednesday and lodged in county jail in lieu of $100,000. His preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 11 a.m. April 18 during centralized court.