Saturday, December 1, 2012

Erie, PA: Erie man charged with homicide in death of city woman

A domestic dispute at a west Erie apartment Saturday night led to an assault that killed a 51-year-old woman, Erie police said Wednesday.

Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook ruled the death of Mary Smith a homicide after an autopsy by Erie County forensic pathologist Eric Vey, M.D., on Wednesday.

The exact cause of Smith's death is pending additional information, Cook said.

Smith is Erie County's 14th homicide victim this year, with 11 of those deaths occurring in the city.

There were eight homicides in the county in 2011, including six in Erie.

Erie police filed a new criminal complaint Wednesday against Jeff A. Selby, 51, charging him with criminal homicide in Smith's death.

Selby, of the 1000 block of Peach Street, was also arraigned before Erie 6th Ward District Judge Dominick DiPaolo on charges of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and unlawful restraint/serious bodily injury.

DiPaolo returned Selby to the Erie County Prison without bond, and scheduled his preliminary hearing for Dec. 5.

Selby has been in jail since Sunday morning, after he was arraigned before DiPaolo on attempted homicide and other charges. Those charges were withdrawn when the new criminal complaint was filed.

Police said Smith and Selby had dated off and on for about three months.

The two were found in the bathroom of Smith's apartment at 428 W. 17th St. by officers who were summoned there at about 6:20 p.m. Saturday to investigate a reported domestic dispute. A neighbor called police after the neighbor said Smith told the neighbor that Selby would not let her leave, and she needed the police.

The neighbor said Selby pulled Smith back into the apartment and locked the door. Officers who responded entered the apartment through a window after no one answered when they knocked at the door, and officers saw and heard movement inside, police said.

Smith was unconscious when police found her in the bathroom. She and Selby were taken to Saint Vincent Health Center.

Smith suffered multiple injuries to her upper body and neck, including three fractured ribs, according to the criminal complaint. Officers observed injuries including multiple wounds to her right rib cage; bruising on her right hip, right elbow and right armpit; and bruising and scratches on her neck, detectives wrote in the complaint.

Smith was brain-dead when she was admitted to the hospital, according to police. She was pronounced dead at Saint Vincent on Tuesday at 2 p.m., Cook said.

TIM HAHN can be reached at 870-1731 or by e-mail. Follow him on Twitter at

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