- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

BRADFORD, Pa. (AP) - A man charged with fatally shooting his son-in-law behind the northwestern Pennsylvania restaurant both men used to own had another bullet in his gun with the victim’s name carved into it, police said.

Stephen Stidd, 62, has been charged with a single count of criminal homicide in Friday’s death of 43-year-old Melvin Bizzarro and faces a preliminary hearing Wednesday, The Bradford Era (http://bit.ly/1CwCrQI ) reported.

Both men are from Bradford, about 130 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, and both had owned Togi’s Sub Station. But Stidd sold the business to his daughter, Michelle, and Bizzarro, her husband, in 2007, and the victim had relinquished his share to his wife in December, according to Stidd’s defense attorney, Gregory Henry.

Henry and McKean County District Attorney Raymond Learn did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press on Tuesday.

But Henry told the newspaper that Bizzarro understood under a marital settlement agreement that he was not to be on the property. The couple is divorcing.

Henry contends Stidd shot Bizzarro in self-defense after Bizzarro trespassed in the parking lot about 9:30 a.m. Friday. But police suggested the shooting may have been premeditated because another bullet in Stidd’s gun that had the letters “MEL” carved in it, according to a criminal complaint.

Bradford police handled the initial investigation but turned over the probe to state police because Stidd is related to one of the city’s police officers, Chief Chris Lucco said. Troopers from the nearby Kane barracks filed the homicide charge.

Bradford District Judge Dominic Cercone allowed Stidd to post 10 percent of $100,000 bail to be released from jail, which is unusual because bond is not normally set on homicide charges in Pennsylvania. Learn, the DA, objected, but the judge allowed it after Henry argued that Stidd has an “unimpeachable reputation” and isn’t a risk to flee.

Henry noted that Bizzarro threatened and assaulted Stidd at the restaurant in June 2005, injuring his father-in-law so badly he was hospitalized.

Court records indicate Bizzarro was sentenced to 15 days to a year in the McKean County Jail. At that time, Bizzarro claimed his father-in-law hit him several times before he retaliated, and that he had ongoing family problems with Stidd.

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Information from: The Bradford Era, http://www.bradfordera.com

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