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Man confesses to 30-year-old killing. Police say he is a suspect in more deaths

A Pennsylvania man serving life in prison for the grisly murder of his wife and stepdaughter has confessed t...

Posted: Oct 19, 2018 3:33 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2018 3:33 PM

A Pennsylvania man serving life in prison for the grisly murder of his wife and stepdaughter has confessed to another killing, resolving a cold case from the 1980s, officials said Thursday.

Several other cases are under review, they said.

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal investigations

Criminal law

Criminal offenses

Homicide

Law and legal system

Murder

Sentencing

Admissions and confessions

Trial and procedure

Regis Brown, 59, admitted to killing Bryce Kenneth Tompkins, 45, whose body was found by hunters partially submerged in Neshannock Creek in Lawrence County in December 1988, authorities said. He told police that Tompkins was killed because he witnessed a burglary.

Brown was sentenced last month in the March deaths of his wife, Michelle Brown, 53, and his stepdaughter, Tammy Greenawalt, 35.

Eric Hackwelder, the attorney who represented Brown during the double homicide case, said he may be retained by Brown to represent him at his October arraignment related to the killing of Tompkins.

"It is surprising," Hackwelder said. "He made a complete confession initially and he was very cooperative with authorities. And it's my understanding that he's very cooperative at this point as well."

Trooper Joseph Vascetti, criminal investigator for the Pennsylvania State Police, said he believes Brown confessed because he's already serving a life sentence, and had nothing to gain or lose by continuing to keep the secret.

Brown is considered a suspect in as many as eight other cold cases, Vascetti told CNN. Altogether, he said, Brown may have information about as many as 15 other killings.

Hackwelder said he had no knowledge of other deaths and plans to speak with his client on Friday.

In the Tompkins case, Brown was charged with one count of criminal homicide, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of intimidation of a witness.

Tompkins was in the wrong place at the wrong time in December 1988, Vascetti said. Brown and another man finished had burglarizing a home in New Castle when they spotted Tompkins walking outside. Brown and the second man planned to kill Tompkins because they believed he would tell police of the burglary, Vascetti said in court papers. One item stolen was a .38-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver.

According to an affidavit, a few days later, Brown and the second man confronted Tompkins, who they knew would go for walks at night. Brown admitted to firing two shots in his back with the handgun taken in the burglary, the affidavit says.

"He was minding his own business," Vascetti said.

Brown was identified as a suspect for years but never admitted to the killing, Vascetti said. Brown has so far only admitted to the three homicides, but more information on other killings may be on the way, officials said.

"He did provide information that the Pennsylvania state police are investigating, and it is related to other homicides," said Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa at a news conference on Thursday. "Those cases are pending right now so we can't get into the specifics of what exactly he said and which cases we are referring to, but yes he did provide other information related to other homicides."

In March, Brown had gotten into a heated argument with his stepdaughter hours before he stabbed and beat her to death, Vascetti said. And once his wife got home from work, Brown bludgeoned her to death.

Brown was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of his wife and was given 40 years for his stepdaughter's death, Hackwelder said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 479326

Reported Deaths: 9353
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32779484
Hinds30924582
DeSoto30319353
Jackson23542341
Rankin21235366
Lee14803219
Madison14120271
Jones13327223
Forrest13078236
Lauderdale11501303
Lowndes10377176
Lamar10163130
Pearl River9008217
Lafayette8193137
Hancock7404111
Oktibbeha6909122
Washington6900150
Monroe6459159
Neshoba6441201
Warren6387163
Pontotoc623093
Panola6203125
Bolivar6072144
Marshall6068121
Union571386
Pike5574135
Alcorn533289
Lincoln5283131
George466072
Scott454796
Leflore4444140
Prentiss443377
Tippah442180
Itawamba441599
Adams4376116
Tate4327101
Simpson4313112
Wayne430766
Copiah429587
Yazoo419686
Covington413292
Sunflower4123104
Marion4073104
Leake395486
Coahoma391098
Newton367274
Grenada3543104
Stone350359
Tishomingo333288
Attala324286
Jasper313162
Winston303091
Clay294173
Chickasaw286265
Clarke279890
Calhoun263940
Holmes261387
Smith248048
Yalobusha219647
Tallahatchie217550
Walthall209958
Greene206845
Lawrence205732
Perry198553
Amite197651
Webster195042
Noxubee177739
Montgomery171654
Jefferson Davis167442
Carroll161437
Tunica150834
Benton141533
Kemper138039
Claiborne126134
Choctaw126026
Humphreys125937
Franklin116328
Quitman103426
Wilkinson101536
Jefferson87333
Sharkey62320
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 778549

Reported Deaths: 13665
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1105871747
Mobile704651206
Madison49152610
Baldwin35946479
Shelby35796302
Tuscaloosa33410532
Montgomery32906672
Lee22231216
Calhoun20791397
Morgan19605326
Etowah18837449
Marshall17465272
Houston16452368
St. Clair15233293
Limestone14376182
Cullman14348246
Elmore14241256
Lauderdale13298278
Talladega12699230
DeKalb12036233
Walker10430323
Autauga9568133
Blount9555152
Jackson9235146
Coffee8728169
Colbert8426179
Dale8410170
Escambia6526114
Tallapoosa6501172
Covington6396163
Chilton6293141
Russell598555
Franklin5719100
Chambers5315133
Marion4734115
Dallas4665182
Clarke457076
Pike456294
Geneva4315116
Winston417192
Lawrence4086108
Bibb401680
Barbour341968
Marengo323183
Butler314988
Monroe314652
Pickens300470
Randolph299955
Henry298356
Hale289383
Cherokee284652
Fayette275672
Washington244848
Crenshaw235168
Clay225163
Macon217657
Cleburne217149
Lamar192140
Conecuh179646
Lowndes170158
Coosa166432
Wilcox155736
Bullock147742
Perry136036
Sumter124136
Greene120142
Choctaw72826
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