The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 27, 2013

Mifflinburg man enters guilty plea in Union County murder case

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

— LEWISBURG — A 28-year-old Mifflinburg man faces up to 32 years in prison after pleading guilty today to third-degree murder for being an accomplice in last year’s shooting death of Randy A. Sampsell and to a related robbery charge.

Under the terms of the plea, Justin G. Richard will receive a 16- to 32-year prison sentence and agreed to testify against others involved in Sampsell’s killing and the brutal robbery of Scott Vonneida, of Millmont, on June 12, 2012.

It was a stark reversal from earlier this year when Richard recanted incriminating testimony he gave last October at a preliminary hearing which led to 13 criminal charges, including third-degree murder and robbery, being transferred to Union County Court against Herbert Tiebout, 38, of Sunbury.

The charges against Tiebout, who is in prison on an unrelated drug offense, were dropped after Richard recanted.

District Attorney D. Peter Johnson said he’ll discuss with state police investigators whether to refile the charges against Tiebout now that Richard says he falsely recanted his testimony.

Richard has admitted that he, along with Tiebout and two other unidentified men took part in robbing Vonneida of 10 firearms and marijuana. During the robbery, Richard struck Vonneida so viciously that he fractured his left eye socket.

One of the stolen weapons was used to kill Sampsell, 51, who was shot in the head as he sat in a recliner inside his Mifflinburg home.

Two other men allegedly involved in the two crimes, including the shooter, have not been charged.

Richard also implicated Amanda Kratzer, 26, of Lewisburg, and Michael Shetterly II, 24, if Mifflinburg, in the Vonneida robbery.

Kratzer is charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and Shetterly with one count of receiving stolen property.