- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 20, 2001

YORK, Pa. (AP) Former police officers and prosecutors testified yesterday that they did not investigate the killing of a black woman during a 1969 race riot because it was not their responsibility.
Three former York officers responded to the shooting of Lillie Belle Allen.
The testimony came during a hearing in which defense lawyers want to know why prosecutors waited more than three decades to file charges in Miss Allen's death on July 21, 1969. They say the delay hurts their clients' chances of receiving a fair trial because evidence is missing, some witnesses are dead and memories have faded.
Eight men are charged with shooting at Miss Allen during a 10-day riot that began after a white man shot and wounded a black youth.
Prosecutors say the ninth man charged Charlie Robertson, an officer at the time and now the mayor handed out bullets and encouraged whites to kill blacks hours before Miss Allen was slain.
All nine defendants have pleaded innocent.
The officers at yesterday's hearing said they never investigated the killing because they did not have such authority as patrol officers.
Dennis McMaster, who is now a police chief in Cumberland County, said he remembered seeing Mr. Robertson hand a box of bullets to a white man during the riots but was not sure exactly when or where it happened.
He said he never reported the incident because he did not think it was a crime.
Former detective Thomas Chapman said police only assisted in the investigation, which was headed up by state police. Mr. Chapman recalled that state police dropped the investigation at some point because of a lack of evidence and of witnesses who were willing to cooperate.
"People told us things that they would not testify to," Mr. Chapman said. "They told you confidentially, and that was it."
Harold Fitzkee, a York County district attorney who took office in January 1970, testified that he never investigated Miss Allen's killing because the office didn't investigate crimes at that time.
Mr. Fitzkee, who is now in private practice, said in 1970 the office only had four part-time assistant district attorneys and one detective who did not investigate cases.
Mr. Fitzkee also said he did not remember receiving any files about the killing from his predecessor, district attorney John Rauhauser, who was in office when Miss Allen was shot. Mr. Rauhauser is deceased.
Miss Allen, 27, a preacher's daughter from South Carolina, was visiting relatives in York when she was caught up in the violence.
Three days earlier, Officer Henry Schaad was fatally shot while on patrol during the disturbances. As part of the same investigation, two black men were arrested last month in connection with his killing.
The two murder cases were cold until recently, after both of the city's daily newspapers provided extensive coverage of the 30th anniversary of the murders in this city of 41,000 people, about 40 percent of them minorities.


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