Truck driver accused of killing pregnant Amish woman due for hearing in Pennsylvania


MEADVILLE, Pa. — A truck driver accused of killing a pregnant Amish woman in her rural home in February was expected to be in court on Friday as a Pennsylvania judge considers whether investigators have sufficient evidence to advance the charges toward trial.

Shawn C. Cranston, 52, is accused of killing Rebekah Byler and her unborn child inside the Byler home near Spartansburg on Feb. 26.

District Judge Amy Nicols is scheduled to preside over the preliminary hearing in the Crawford County Courthouse to decide if there is enough evidence to support those charges, as well as accusations of burglary and trespassing.

Byler, 23, had suffered head and neck wounds when her husband and a family friend found her in the living room. The couple’s two young children were home but unharmed, police said.

Byler’s defense attorney, public defender Gary Alan Kern, did not respond to requests for comment this week. Crawford County District Attorney Paula C. DiGiacomo declined to comment.

In court documents filed for a search of the murder scene, state police said they recovered guns, ammunition, knife parts and other items. Authorities have not indicated a possible motive.

Cranston lives in Corry, about 8 miles (13 kilometers) from Spartansburg. He has been in the county jail without bond since being arrested March 2.

Byler appeared to have cutting wounds to her neck and head, police said, and the criminal complaint accused Cranston of “shooting her in the head and/or slashing her throat.”


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