Defense: Brother-in-law didn’t kill man, burn van

Herbert Spellman lost his civil-rights trial after being illegally stopped and frisked.
Herbert Spellman lost his civil-rights trial after being illegally stopped and frisked.

MERCER, Pa. (AP) – A defense attorney says Mercer County prosecutors have charged the wrong man with shooting of his brother-in-law, whose body was later found in a burning van.

Instead, defense attorney Alexander Lindsay says state police and Mercer County prosecutors wrongly focused on 46-year-old Ralph Young after relatives claimed he was involved in a property dispute with the dead man, 58-year-old David Dignall.

Prosecutors contend Young was unhappy because Dignall and his wife – Young’s sister – bought property from the Young siblings’ mother and were charging Ralph Young to live there.

State police say Young shot Dignall before setting Dignall’s van on fire on Dec. 20, 2012 in French Creek Township, about 75 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Young’s attorney says other people’s DNA and footprints were found at the murder scene. The trial opened Wednesday.

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