Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Meek,' 'Loving' Teenager Charged in 2 Deaths Mother, Brother Were Shot While Sleeping

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Meek,' 'Loving' Teenager Charged in 2 Deaths Mother, Brother Were Shot While Sleeping

Article excerpt

A teenager described by his grandparents as "meek" and "loving" is in custody today in Westmoreland County, charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the shootings of his mother and younger brother.

Jacob Remaley, 14, a student at Hempfield Area High School, is accused of taking a handgun from atop the refrigerator in his home in Hempfield and shooting Dana Remaley, 46, and Caleb Remaley, 8, in the head as they slept Wednesday morning.

Then, according to investigators, Jacob called 911 at 6:53 a.m. and told the operator, "Why didn't he kill me? I need help," before the phone was disconnected.

As the 911 operator called Pennsylvania State Police in Greensburg, Jacob called back. "[The teen] started yelling, asking why they hung up on him and that he needed an ambulance," according to court documents. He identified himself and gave his address, saying "that he didn't know why his dad put a gun in his bed. ... [he] became hysterical and told the 911 operator that he had blood on his hands."

Police found Jacob in his front yard in the 1100 block of Thermo Road, wearing a T-shirt and boxer shorts. He kept repeating, "Mom," police said. A neighbor said she had seen Jacob carrying a handgun, which he threw into an adjacent yard. The neighbor said she told Jacob she loved him, and he replied, "I love my mom, too."

Police said they contacted Jacob's father, Davey Remaley, at work in Pittsburgh, and he gave them permission to interview his son, who initially was taken to Westmoreland Regional Hospital. In addition to two counts of first-degree murder, he also is charged with two counts of criminal homicide.

David Remaley, Jacob's grandfather and Davey Remaley's father, said Thursday that he had a "sick feeling" when he saw TV news videos at noon Wednesday, showing police vehicles blocking the road to his son's home in the rural township outside of New Stanton.

David and his wife, Joyce, said they tried to contact Davey and Dana Remaley at their home, a bungalow in the 1100 block of Thermo Village Road, and by cell phone. There was no answer.

Now, they're left to wonder what snapped in their teenage grandson, who, they said, is devoutly religious.

"There's no words to describe what I was thinking when Davey told me. He was calm. He didn't say much. What he did say was that Jacob shot his brother and his mother and they were both dead. That's what he said," Mr. Remaley recounted in a telephone interview Thursday.

Jacob's taped account to police differed from what he said to the 911 operator, according to documents filed in the case.

"During questioning, [Jacob] confessed to intentionally shooting his mother ... and his brother ... in the head while they slept in their respective beds."

"[Jacob] related that if his father .. …

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