Last updated: April 24. 2014 10:08AM - 5991 Views
By - smocarsky@timesleader.com

Sunset Lake Road in Hunlock Township was closed Wednesday while police investigated a double homicide.
Sunset Lake Road in Hunlock Township was closed Wednesday while police investigated a double homicide.
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Sequence of events

According to a State Police release:

• State Police at Shickshinny were dispatched to 71 Sunset Lake Rd. Hunlock Twp. at 1 p.m. on Wednesday to check on the welfare of the residents.

• On arrival, Ronald Evans, 73, was found deceased on the rear deck of the residence and Jeffery Evans, 43, was found deceased in a hallway of the residence. Both victims had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Troop P Major Case Team and detectives from the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office were called to the scene.

• During the course of the investigation, James Roache, 31, and Holly Ann Crawford, 39, were developed as suspects and troopers proceeded to their Sweet Valley residence, assisted by the Luzerne County Detectives and State Police Aviation Unit. The suspects were observed in a wooded area behind their residence by State Police Aviation Unit and arrest teams moved in and took both suspects into custody without incident.

• Both suspects are to be arraigned on two counts of open homicide in front of Magistrate John Hasay.

HUNLOCK TWP. — A Sweet Valley couple were charged on Wednesday in the shooting deaths of a father and son in their Sunset Lake Road home.

Holly Ann Crawford and James Roache, both of 71 Dobson Road in the Sweet Valley section of Ross Township, were charged with open counts of criminal homicide in connection with the shootings of Ronald Evans, 73, and his son, Jeffery Evans, 43.

State police Trooper Martin Connors said state police were sent to 71 Sunset Lake Road, Hunlock Township, at approximately 1 p.m. Wednesday to check on the welfare of the residents. Troopers found both victims dead, one on the back deck and the other in a hallway inside their trailer.

An investigation led police to search for Crawford and Roache, who were spotted from a state police helicopter in the woods near Dobson Road. They were taken into custody without incident and questioned by state police at Shickshinny at the barracks in Salem Township, Connors said.

Connors said both victims were shot multiple times. They were pronounced dead at the scene by Luzerne County Coroner William Lisman.

Connors said it was unclear when the shootings occurred, but autopsies would help determine the times of death.

Crawford, 39, and Roache, 31, were awaiting arraignment before District Judge John Hasay in Shickshinny as of press time Wednesday night.

In addition to Sunset Lake Road being closed for several hours on Wednesday because of the homicide investigation, school was disrupted for students at Northwest Area Intermediate School, which is located on Sunset Lake Road a few hundreds yards from the Evans’ home.

Northwest Area School District Superintendent Ronald Grevera said state police ordered the intermediate school to be placed on lockdown until the suspects were in custody. At dismissal time, students were escorted to their buses by state troopers as a precaution. Grevera credited teachers and staff with keeping the students calm.

Some high school students who live along the road had to be picked up by their parents rather than be bused home.

Crawford has an extensive criminal history dating back to 2004. She first made local headlines in January 2009 when she was charged with animal cruelty for docking the tails of kittens, piercing them and marketing them as “gothic kittens.”

She was convicted by a jury and sentenced to one year in Luzerne County’s Intermediate Punishment Program. Her sentence had been extended due to violations, including testing positive for marijuana and alcohol.

Crawford also has been arrested on charges of theft, burglary and possession of drug paraphernalia. She also had two drunk driving arrests in 2013, according to court records.

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