By JOE MANDAK
PITTSBURGH – The owner of a central Pennsylvania social service agency solicited his uncle to kill or harm a worker who he said threatened to play the “gay card” if she wasn’t given a raise or promotion, state police charged.
But the business owner’s defense attorney contends the allegations are false and based solely on the word of the uncle the businessman allegedly tried to hire.
Defense attorney Thomas Dickey said there’s “bad blood” between the uncle and Shane Ryan Krestar, 26, of Fallentimber, who owns Key Life Human Services, a business in Coalport, Clearfield County. The agency about 75 miles northeast of Pittsburgh provides residential services for mentally disabled people.
Krestar’s uncle–who is cooperating with state police and has not been charged–told police that Krestar contacted him late last month and claimed his employee “demanded a raise and a promotion to supervisor.” The worker allegedly told Krestar, “that if this did not happen, she would play the ‘gay card,'” Trooper Kenneth Durbin wrote in the complaint.
Since late September, Krestar met with his uncle four times.
“What would it take for you to tamper with her car? We have to get rid of her,” Krestar allegedly told his uncle at the first meeting. In three subsequent meetings, Krestar allegedly urged his uncle to take action saying: “We have to get this going,” “I want it done, I’ll pay you anything,” and at the last meeting, “Are you going to do it or not?”
Dickey, the defense lawyer, said there’s “no credibility” to the charges, which he said police haven’t investigated thoroughly.
“I think people will be shocked and appalled by the lack of investigation in this case,” Dickey said.
A state police spokesman didn’t return repeated calls for comment. Durbin refused to comment on the charges which, according to a probable cause affidavit, are based largely on the word of Krestar’s uncle.
“I don’t have any comment beyond what’s in the affidavit,” Durbin said, before hanging up.
Krestar has been in the Cambria County jail, unable to post $200,000, since his arrest Friday on charges of solicitation to commit criminal homicide, solicitation to commit aggravated assault and making terroristic threats, according to a prison official and online court records.
A preliminary hearing on the charges, which were first reported by The (Johnstown) Tribune-Democrat, was postponed Tuesday and not immediately rescheduled.
Krestar’s uncle and the employee are named in the criminal complaint, but The Associated Press is not reporting their identities because they could not be reached for comment.
The AP left a home telephone message for a man believed to be Krestar’s uncle, but he didn’t call back.
A woman who identified herself only as a relative of the employee agreed to relay a message seeking comment, which was not immediately returned. A message left on the answering machine at a phone number listed at the employee’s address also was not immediately returned.