Look ahead at 2023: Several outstanding murder cases in Valley

Jan. 1—Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz will be the busiest of all Valley DAs when it comes to homicides in 2023 because his office will be prosecuting 11 cases, two of which are death penalty cases, the most the county has ever seen.

The first death penalty case is Jose Colon, 46, of Shamokin, who faces criminal homicide charges in the fatal shooting of Kasandra Ortiz, of Shamokin, on Feb. 26, 2018, at Rock and Spurzheim streets in Shamokin. Colon then barricaded himself in a seven-hour standoff with police, shooting at officers 11 times, according to the charges. Jury selection is scheduled for June 20 with the trial to follow through that week and the week of June 26.

The second death penalty case is Matthew J. Reed, 24, who could potentially be facing the death penalty, is charged in a triple homicide that occurred on June 9, 2021, in Snydertown. Stonington state police say Reed — who had been living at Haven Ministry, a homeless shelter in Sunbury — gunned down Susan Williams, 58, James Dicken, 59, and 17-year-old John Paul Dicken, all of Snydertown, because of a dispute over a vehicle purchase.

The other cases Matulewicz will be dealing with are:

Stephen Francis Kruskie, 28, of Mount Carmel, who is accused of running over and killing his ex-girlfriend, 21-year-old Cheyenne Swartz, on May 21, 2021, in Coal Township.

Lisa Karlaza, 54, of Mount Carmel Township, is accused of stabbing her husband Richard Karlaza to death on July 4, 2021, at their township home.

Christopher Depka, 40, of Coal Township, is accused of killing his mother Sarah Jones, 61, with a baseball bat in November 2021, in Coal Township.

Corey Quincy, 21, of Shamokin, is accused of killing Rhonda Pearce with a sword in April in Shamokin.

Ajani Munsh-Ousha Uhuru, 23, of Sunbury, who is accused in the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Kareem Jakes on May 19 inside the Penn Jersey Food Mart on Fourth Street on May 19.

Thomas Allen Huffman, 44, and Dorothy Mae Huffman, 45, and their nephew Kayden Curtis Koser, 17, all of 415 Groover Road, Watsontown, allegedly beat Richard Leroy Jameson II, 55, to death with fists and a wooden paddle and then buried him in a wooded area behind a house near Watsontown, police said.

Randy Easton, of Sunbury, who is accused of gunning down Joseph Rice after an argument on Third Street and Raspberry Avenue, just after 2 a.m. on Sept. 24.

Easton was wanted by authorities and was taken into custody at the Relax Inn, in Lewisburg, at 11:45 p.m. on Sept. 26 by Sunbury Police and the U.S. Marshals Service, according to police.

Elsewhere in Valley

In Union County, Myrle Miller, 77, is accused of defrauding and poisoning her 77-year-old husband, John Nichols, who died in 2018. Miller will go to trial on Wednesday. State troopers allege Miller intentionally fed Nichols her own prescription medication, Verapamil, knowing it would cause his heart to fail. She was arrested in May 2021 and is being held at the Northumberland County Jail without bail.

In Snyder County, Brad A. Bailor is being held without bail on charges alleging he fatally shot his wife, Leslie M. Bailor, in their South Market Street home in Penn Township.

According to the criminal complaint filed by state police at Selinsgrove, Brad Bailor, 33, admitted shooting his 32-year-old wife several times with a 9 mm handgun during an argument in their 1150 S. Market St. home.

Police said Brad Bailor called 911 to report the shooting.