- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 8, 2002

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (AP) Authorities investigating the killing of a woman and assault of her fiance say the two were in a bar the night before the attack with a couple now charged with the murder of a Fairfax couple in Ocean City, authorities said.
Authorities had previously said there was no significant connection between the November killing of Dana Gates and attack on Lorin Burket, and the Maryland slaying suspects, Benjamin and Erika Sifrit.
The Sifrits are now being considered suspects in the Bedford County case.
"The police were able to ascertain that Dana Gates and Lorin Burket were in the same bar, the same establishment, as the Sifrits the night before the murder," said Bedford County District Attorney Dwight Diehl. "Did it end when they went to their own homes? We don't know. Is there a link? We don't know."
Miss Gates was killed Nov. 30 and Mr. Burket was severely beaten in an attack at their home in Queen, Bedford County.
The Sifrits, of Duncansville in Blair County, are charged with first-degree murder in the slayings of Martha Crutchley, 51, and Joshua Ford, 32, over the Memorial Day weekend in Ocean City.
Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman revealed the connection between the Sifrits, Miss Gates and Mr. Burket in court documents Monday seeking to reseal a search warrant in Miss Gates' slaying.
The documents say duct tape was used in the Gates killing and also had been used in the slayings of Miss Crutchley and Mr. Ford. The Sifrits also were found with duct tape when they were arrested.
"Consequently, there may be a connection between the Sifrits and the Gates homicide," Mr. Gorman wrote, adding that revealing the details of the case would harm the work of investigators.
Blair County Judge Jolene G. Kopriva granted the seal for another 30 days.
The Sifrits, both 24, are currently jailed without bail in the Worcester County, Md., Detention Center.
They were arrested after a burglary at a Hooters restaurant in Ocean City and were found in possession of identification for Miss Crutchley and Mr. Ford, police said. Pennsylvania State Police investigators began investigating them at the request of Maryland authorities.
Mrs. Sifrit told police her husband shot the victims at a condominium they had rented and dismembered the bodies.
Mrs. Sifrit said the couple had locked themselves in the condominium's bathroom to hide from her husband, who kicked open the door and shot them, according to charging documents.
She said they both placed the remains in a trash container in Delaware, according to charging documents.
Remains believed to be those of the victims were found June 3 in a landfill in Delaware. DNA test results are expected in late September.


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