The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 2, 2012

Murder victim's brother describes finding body

William Sampsell choked up immediately after he was sworn in to testify at a hearing for -- Justin Richard and Herbert Tiebout -- two of the men accused of participating in the killing of his brother Ralph Sampsell.

He spoke softly and began crying as he recounted how Randy Sampsell, 51, wasn’t answering his phone and how on June 22, “I went to check on him.” Wiping away tears, he said, “It was nasty” when he saw his brother’s murder scene.

A sliding glass door was smashed, Sampsell said, and he “heard voices,” which later turned out to be the TV, still on. Randy Sampsell was seated and watching TV when he was killed by a shotgun blast to his head when the four men allegedly robbed his home next.

Sampsell said he visited Randy Sampsell, who wasn’t in good health, about every two weeks and last spoke to his brother about June 8. The curtains were drawn and the lights were on in Randy Sampsell’s home, he said.

“I can’t say if he used pot,” Sampsell told Stephen Becker, of Williamsport, Kratzer’s attorney, on cross-examination. “I don’t know if he sold it or used it.”

Sampsell also told Becker he didn’t know Kratzer or that she had dated Randy’s son about six years ago.

“I thought I was doing good up until today,” said Sampsell, there with wife Sue and sister Roberta Snyder, “but I wasn’t afraid. ... This has been very, very hard. We’ve been through a lot.”

“Mifflinburg is a small, quiet town. You never expect something like this to happen,” Sue Sampsell said. “Randy kept to himself, but he’d have done anything for you.”

The family didn’t know if Randy Sampsell used marijuana, but he did take methadone for pain, Sue Sampsell said, “and if he did smoke pot, so what? If (Kratzer would) have kept her mouth shut, this would never have happened.”

Sampsell’s family is upset that Kratzer is out on bail. “She’d look good in orange,” William Sampsell said.

Kratzer declined comment when asked about the testimony; “I can talk when this is all over,” she said.

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