Regola Neighbor's Death Referred to as a Crime

Article excerpt

Westmoreland County prosecutors for the first time have labeled as a crime the death of a Hempfield teenager who was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head from a weapon registered to state Sen. Bob Regola.

In a legal brief filed by District Attorney John Peck in response to media arguments seeking public release of a search warrant served on the Regola home last month, prosecutors never referred to the case as a suicide or an accidental shooting.

Instead, Peck called the July death of Louis Farrell a crime on several references in the 48-page court filing.

"The crime is still recent, and the investigation is actively being pursued," Peck wrote.

Police have yet to announce whether they consider Farrell's death a homicide, suicide or accident.

Farrell, 14, was watching the Regola family's dog while the the senator and his wife were in Harrisburg. Regola's 16-year-old son, Robert Regola IV, returned home the evening of July 21 after an outing to an amusement park and was the last person to speak to Farrell, who lived next door, according to police reports. Farrell's body was found the morning of July 22.

A warrant authorizing an Aug. 9 search of the Regola home was ordered sealed for 60 days by Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway. Police took a computer, a safe and other undisclosed evidence from the house. Little additional information about the investigation has been released.

Attorneys for the Tribune-Review and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last month asked Hathaway to unseal the search warrant, aruging that warrants become public documents after they are executed. …