This has been a crazy week here at headquarters. On Tuesday, the day started like any other day, however 1/11/11 will be forever etched in my memory.
I started the day realizing it was a “one” day and posted the observation on my Facebook page. Was also looking forward to potential of the 1st real snowfall of the season. Teaser snow clouds in the afternoon only heighten the expectations. Finally at around 3:30pm the snow started falling and I was looking forward to the after beauty that always occurs when the snow stops.
After 5:00pm, supper was started, and I went outside to have a smoke. I noticed the snow was really falling now and gave a wave to Sue, my neighbor’s girlfriend, as she passed by. Back inside, I finished folding my load of wash in the bedroom. While doing so I heard police sirens. Thought to myself, someone must have had an accident in the snow.
Finished with the clothes, I went out to the kitchen and was made aware that cops and an ambulance were outside of our house. I went outside to take a look and our dead end street had been invaded by what looked like the whole Swatara Police Department and an ambulance. The snow was also really coming down at that time as well. I could see all the activity was coming from John and Sue’s house from across the street. Not thinking at the time and with supper almost done, I went back inside and ate dinner with the family.
After dinner I went back outside and it looked like even more cars were on our street. My neighbor from above came down to see what was going on. He asked a cop, but was ignored. Then he came to our porch and we chatted about what could be happening. We both thought it was something medical, but now thinking back, you don’t usually get the whole police department showing up for a medical emergency. Shortly there after the EMS people came out of the house, with an empty stretcher. We both looked at each other and at the same time said, ”That’s not good”. The snow at this time was really coming down hard and it was getting cold out. While inside we watched from the windows as the “police tape” went up across the driveway and the other activity taking place. We then saw Sue being escorted from the house and shortly thereafter the Coroner vehicle came. What had become an anxious curiosity during the night suddenly became the reality that our neighbor John Troutman was dead.
If you ever get to be a witness to such an event, all kinds of thoughts are running through your head. “Wonder what happened?” you keep asking. Suicide, domestic dispute, etc. The last thing you think of is murder, especially in area like this.
My girlfriend and daughter saw John’s body being placed into the Coroner’s vehicle, I really didn’t want to see this, as John was the best neighbor anyone could have and suddenly I had lost him.
After the Coroner vehicle left, the Swatara Twp. Crime lab truck and a few unmarked cars stayed behind. They worked through the snowstorm until about 2am in the morning. So from about 6pm – 2am, we didn’t see any of the local news media.
Waking up the next day we turned on the TV, hoping to see what happened next door. Not a mention! Although, we did see all the “Team Coverage” of the snowstorm, from all the local news media. It was great to know that it did snow and all of the PennDot trucks were out plowing the roads. I even liked when a reporter dipped a ruler into the snow, just to show how much fell.
Why is it every time it snows, all the local news station fan out across the counties, to report how many PennDot trucks are plowing and that the roads are plowed, but still use caution while driving. Has there ever been a snowstorm when PennDot didn’t plow the roads? Do they think this area has a bunch of new people moving in and don’t know to use caution while driving on snow covered roads?
I had just witnessed a few hours ago, most of the Swatara Twp. PD, EMS, their crime lab unit and a Dauphin County coroner vehicle, but somehow it didn’t make it to any of the local news media outlets.
We couldn’t believe it!!!
Mid morning on Wednesday, while taking out the trash, two Swatara Police detectives’ came to the house. They were still tight lipped, “ongoing investigation”, but assured me it was a murder investigation, however there was no apparent break in, so it was believed to be someone perhaps that John knew.
They asked a bunch of questions and then left. I felt really bad because a murder, a violent murder according to the DA’s office, had occurred across the street and I didn’t see or hear anything out of the norm for our usually quite street.
Around 1pm on Wednesday, the shit started to hit the fan. A “County” crime lab truck came down the street, followed shortly there after by the Patriot News, Channel 8, CBS 21 and Channel 27. (Fox 43 never showed up, at least here on the street) Then out of the blue, Sue came back to the house escorted by her son, police and a locksmith company. If you were outside, the media came after you for an interview after Sue left.
Suddenly NOW it was a story. Surprisingly only Channel 8 and the Patriot News sent out actual reporters and not just a “camera guy”.
I found out during a “confidential” talk with the media, they only found out about the crime due to a Press Release sent out by Dauphin County DA, Edward M. Marsico. Well that explains the hours of silence from the media. Then all of a sudden a County CSI truck, media and the victim’s girlfriend all showing up at the same time.
Ed Marisco, you should be ashamed of your FUCKIN’ SELF. “Setting up” a crime scene all over again, right before your press conference a few blocks away. Can you explain that you or your office knew nothing about what happened on Tuesday Night? Perhaps if the media was alerted earlier, it could have made the 11pm news and the next morning news, to possibly catch the thug or thugs that committed the crime?
I’m pretty sure the DA is an elected office. If it is, I will do everything within my being, to expose this guy for the true scumbag he really is and have him replaced!!!
So obviously word starts getting out, the local news starts reporting of what happened, all started based off a press release from the Dauphin County DA’s office.
The story finally made all the dinner time news that day, but perhaps most disturbing was the local news media coming back in the dark, knocking on our doors wanting additional comments for a follow up “are you scared” type storyline. Perhaps, I should have said yes, a violent murder was committed across the street and you guys are banging on my fucking door at night.
Prior to this event my dealings with the local news media were helping Mike Parker (former CBS 21) “uncover” the sleaze in nightclub entertainment. (We have remained friends ever since.) Emails or phone calls from Barry Fox of the Patriot News (May he rest in peace) Sarah and Alexis from the Patriot News on shows we did over the years via phone and emails. Lawsuit threats from Scott of MODE Magazine and my dealings with the live shred events with my former employer Shred-it and Channel 8.
I have learned a lot from this recent experience about our local news media. Despite their tag line of leading “Breaking News”, CBS 21 didn’t even send a reporter on the street. Channel 27 at 1st didn’t send a reporter when the news broke, but they sent one later for a follow up. Fox 43 was a total MIA. Channel 8 in my opinion; did the best job.
I find it hard to believe that damn near the whole police department of Swatara Twp., EMS and the coroner’s office could all be at one spot within hours, and none of the local news media knew about it, until a press release from the DA’s office the next day. Perhaps they (local news media) should all stop relying on press releases and plant some seeds to “really” report on the news.
Here are my personal observations of the local media:
Barbara Barr – Channel 8 – Had some good off camera time with Barb. She did give me a good piece of mind about how the whole “news” process works. Of all the reporters, I truly feel she had a genuine interest in the story. Maybe she lives in a neighborhood just like mine. I felt obligated to give her some info/ “on camera time” since my previous dealings with the station. Plus Barb was the only one that had a business card and asked that I contact her if anything “new” developed.
Matthew Kemeny – Patriot News – Did you ever see the pictures of the little fish attached to the shark or whales? That was what I saw of Matthew. He followed the local TV News around the neighborhood and scribbled down parts of the interview the TV news crews were asking during their interviews. Based upon what I read of his previous reports on Penn Live, he rewrites Press Release and adds a paragraph or two and then claims it as his story.
Matthew, I used to work at the Patriot News in the Circulation Department. Go down and ask Kurt Hower for a PN logo jacket and/or sweatshirt. I had both, why don’t you?
And by the way, good job on reporting I was “puffing on a cigarette on my front porch”. That really added to the story of the violent murder that happened across the street. Perhaps that was the few lines you needed to make it your own, versus writing up a standard issue Dauphin County DA press releases.
Porcha Johnson – Channel 8 – Sorry I had you confused with a reporter from another network. Welcome to the area and a bit of advise for you. If a “violent” murder has just taken place on the street, don’t be knocking on people’s doors at night. And if you do a 3+ minute interview, perhaps you could find more than a 10 second clip to run for the story.
Al Gnoza – ABC 27 – After a day from hell and the camera’s were shut off. It was good to share a couple of laughs with Al and the camera guy. I’d love to meet up with him again at a bar over a few Jager’s and beers to dish out the dirt on Dennis Owens.
Fox 43 – Missing in Action. Owen and gang follow us on Twitter but this was beyond a “tweet”
Roxbury News – Another MIA. Although from what I saw, James was busy “investigating” lap dances at Shane’s City Limits. A tit vs. murder, don’t know? Being web based, I’m sure a titty story would have more hit’s than a murder.
Channel 21 – Triple MIA – “Breaking News” leader my ass!!! A “violent” murder occurred in a quite neighborhood, in your backyard and all you send is a cameraman? You only followed the DA press release sheep like all the rest. Mike Parker would have been all over this story.
In summary, I’m kind of glad the local news media didn’t know who I was. It was my chance to observe their (local news media) actions and tell it, like it really is.
In the next few days you might see some stories based upon “rumors” and “tips” from our local media about John Troutman. God forbid if they can actually dig up some investigative reporting themselves. I can personally tell you, John was a great guy. If not for him, I would not have a huge deck and pool to enjoy every summer. John always waved when driving by and said hello while he got his mail and I was on the porch “puffing a cigarette”.
The local media reports him as “elderly”, however I only hope to live to his age and be in his condition. He was far from being “elderly”
John Troutman was a great human being. He would help anyone and I pity the fool in the local news media that tries to dishonor him. I’ll be watching your reports and will have no problems returning the dirt back on you.
My prayers and thoughts go out to John and his family and his “long time girlfriend” Sue.
I could have taken plenty of video and photos of the night, but out of respect for John and Sue, I didn’t. Plus we are just a piss ass entertainment website. Perhaps if the local mainstream news media had done their jobs, they would have gotten plenty of pics and videos to show.
Snowstorms happen a lot in Central PA during the winter. So for my new friends in the local media, the next time your news director ask you to stand along a road all night, perhaps your gut might ask you if something else of more importance might be going on.
God Bless you John!!! No matter what the local media might try to do to your character after death, I appreciated your help, laughter and the times we did spend together. You were a perfect neighbor and I will surely miss seeing you again. Take care my friend and perhaps in the spring, we’ll get that damn lighthouse to work again!!!
I once again applaud the Swatara Twp. Police Department men and women working through not only the night, but also a snowstorm on top of everything. I hope your dedication to your job will catch the thug/thugs that committed this tragic crime. Because I know once you do catch them, the Dauphin County DA’s office will send out a press release to all the local news media outlets letting them know the murder has been solved.
Lator Gators – BigJim
Ps Live each day like it’s your last, because it just might be!Murder on Siegfried Street,