Leetonia man charged with murder in dad’s death

LISBON — A Leetonia man has been charged with murder in connection with the death of his father in early 2018.

The county Common Pleas Court grand jury charged David M. Shafer, 49, state Route 558, Leetonia, with having weapons while under a disability, tampering with evidence and murder in connection with the death of Delbert G. Shafer, Jr.

Sheriff Ray Stone said deputies were informed about Delbert Shafer’s death after the body was transported to a local funeral home and it was determined he may have died of suspicious causes. The death was later determined to be a homicide.

David Shafer had called for help for his father on Jan. 14, 2018 after reportedly finding him deceased at his home on state Route 558, Leetonia. On Jan. 17, the county coroner’s office determined the death to have been suspicious.

Stone said investigators believe David Shafer assaulted Delbert Shafer, which ultimately led to his death. Stone said he may have waited some time before he called for help, instead cleaning up the crime scene or at least moving and disposing of many of his father’s firearms.

Delbert Shafer was known to have owned many firearms. On Jan. 18 when sheriff’s detectives Sgt. Jeff Haugh and Sgt. Steven Walker met with David Shafer, none of the guns were found in the home. David Shafer reportedly told the detectives his father had disposed of all the weapons prior to his death.

However, the detectives later learned David Shafer had taken some of them to another person and on Jan. 23, a large cache of firearms were found in a hidden storage area after deputies thoroughly searched the home using a search warrant.

The weapons under a disability charge was for having his father’s firearms when David Shafer has a burglary conviction from Berks County, Pa., from August 2010. After Delbert Shafer’s death, David Shafer had returned to Reading, Pa., which is in Berks County, Stone said. He may have been there to answer to violating the terms of his probation.

Stone said deputies went to Berks County to take a warrant for only the tampering with evidence charge. They then had to await his extradition before returning to pick him up.

Shafer has been in custody since he was returned to Columbiana County. County Municipal Court Judge Mark Frost bound him over to the grand jury after he waived his right to a preliminary hearing on March 4. His bond was set at $25,000 cash or surety.

The murder charge is an unclassified felony, which could carry a sentence of 15 years to life if Shafer is convicted.



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