2 Black Men Charged in 1969 Killing
YORK, Pa. (AP) Two black men were charged with murder Tuesday in the 1969 shooting death of a white police officer during race riots in this central Pennsylvania city.
Stephen Freeland, 49, and Leon Wright, 53, were charged with first- and second-degree murder following a day of deliberations by a grand jury. They are accused of killing Officer Henry Schaad the night of July 18, 1969.
Three days later, a black woman was killed by gunfire from a white mob. Nine men, including Mayor Charlie Robertson, who was a police officer at the time of the riots, were recently charged with her murder.
Schaad, 22, was shot on the second night of the riots as he rode in an armored car with two other white police officers. He was struck by a bullet from a Krag 30-40 rifle that pierced the vehicle's steel plating and died in a hospital two weeks later.
The son of a York police detective, Schaad remains the only police officer killed in the line of duty in York. His portrait hangs over the receptionist's desk at the police station.
An affidavit filed at Tuesday's arraignment of the two suspects cited numerous witnesses who said they saw Freeland firing at the armored vehicle and later boasting that he had used a Krag 30-40. The witnesses said as many as 40 other men were also at the intersection and some of them also fired.
One witness, York County Prison inmate Sherman Spells, said he heard Freeland claim that he hit the vehicle.
``I hit it. I hit the mark,'' Spells quoted Freeland as saying.
The affidavit cited only one witness who claimed to have seen Wright fire at the vehicle.
The grand jury has been meeting for a year. Last April, it handed up charges against nine men in the death of the Lillie Belle Allen, a 27-year-old black preacher's daughter gunned down by a white mob.
Allen and her family were on the way to buy groceries when her sister drove down a street occupied by a crowd of white males. Allen's sister panicked and tried to turn the car around, and when Allen stepped out to take over the driving, she was killed by a shotgun blast.
Neither murder was solved, but in late 1999, District Attorney H. Stanley Rebert reopened both cases and convened the grand jury last year. Prosecutors said the probe was prompted by new information they had received about the homicides.
The nine men charged in the Allen shooting are all white. Robertson is accused of handing out bullets to white gang members and encouraging them to kill blacks in the hours before Allen was killed.
Robertson, who has pleaded innocent, abandoned a re-election campaign after he was arrested.
The other defendants in the Allen case are all accused of shooting at Allen's vehicle, but four of them have been offered plea deals and would receive lighter sentences in exchange for cooperating with the prosecution. All of them have pleaded innocent.
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