News Column

iPhone Led Way to Homicide Arrests

August 9, 2013

The GPS in the stolen iPhone of a slain Washington & Jefferson College football player led police to make a trio of arrests that students and teammates Wednesday said brought them some peace after an emotionally trying 10-month search for Tim McNerney's killers.

GPS tracking from McNerney's phone, which was stolen during the attack in Washington, showed the device was near the McDonald home of Adam Hankins, 23, and the Houston Street home of Eric Dante Wells, 24. Both admitted their roles in the Oct. 4 death of McNerney, police said.

Police also charged Troy Simmons, 22, of East Pittsburgh. All three men are charged with homicide, robbery, theft and conspiracy.

"It's a huge relief. It's been a rough 10 months," said DeAndre Simmons, 23, who played football with McNerney at Washington & Jefferson. "Not a day goes by that we're not thinking about our man."

McNerney set records at Knoch High School before becoming a Washington & Jefferson stand-out.

"He was one of those kids you could count on to brighten up your day," said former Knoch teammate Mark Cunningham, 23. "He was all about his jokes."

Cunningham said the arrests brought with them "some relief."

"You can't really get full justice for something like that," he said.

McNerney's relatives couldn't be reached. Relatives of all three suspects couldn't be reached, and it wasn't known if they had lawyers.

Wells admitted to striking McNerney, 21, knocking him to the ground and taking his cell phone and wallet, according to a criminal complaint. He told police he and Hankins got rid of the phone and burned the clothes they were wearing the night of the attack.

Source: Copyright Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA) 2013. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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