Watch CBS News

Suspect charged in shooting death of 83-year-old man in Fayette County

Man charged with homicide in deadly Fayette County shooting
Man charged with homicide in deadly Fayette County shooting 00:29

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (KDKA) -- A suspect has been arrested in the shooting death of 83-year-old Anthony Decenzo in Fayette County. 

65-year-old Norman Pennington was taken into custody by Pennsylvania State Police troopers overnight on Wednesday. 

Pennington's arrest comes after troopers found Decenzo dead inside his car on April 13, one day after his family reported him missing. He was found covered with a tarp in the back seat of the vehicle. 

According to court paperwork, Pennington and Decenzo knew each other well and troopers believe that Pennington shot Decenzo over a dispute related to $30,000 and plans to buy a bar. 

Photo of Anthony Decenzo provided by Pennsylvania State Police. Pennsylvania State Police

Throughout interviews with police, Decenzo's wife informed them that he and Pennington spoke frequently about the plans to purchase the bar. She told police she believed he gave Pennington $30,000 for one of the two purchases and overheard one conversation where he told Pennington, "If I don't sign papers on Thursday, then I want my money back, I am the only one who put money into this." 

She also said Decenzo had somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 in cash in a drawer and after he went missing, so did the cash. 

According to the criminal complaint, Pennington confessed to shooting Decenzo, citing he did it out of self-defense. He also said that he threw the gun he used into Dunlap Creek. 

How a "Frozen" blanket tied Norman Pennington to Anthony Decenzo's murder

It was a note investigators found in a cup holder with a phone number and the name "Norman" on it that first put Pennington on police's radar, in addition to a Disney "Frozen" blanket found in the front seat. 

"It was apparent to us in our investigation that somebody had laid this down to avoid getting any kind of fluids on them," Fayette County District Attorney Mike Aubele said on Wednesday. "That was something identified by Mrs. Pennington as something Mr. Pennington had."

Police also learned that Decenzo drove to Pennington's New Salem home on April 12, the day he was last seen, to discuss the business deal. 

When police interviewed Pennington's wife, she said her husband called her the afternoon of April 12 and asked her to meet him up at an intersection near their home.

Pennington was driving Decenzo's white Cadillac and told his wife to follow him as he drove the car to a gravel pull-off area on Riffle Hollow Road, where he parked the car before she drove him home.

"Mr. Pennington confessed to killing Mr. Decenzo in the vehicle as it was parked in his driveway, then moving the vehicle and body to Riffle Hollow Road," Aubele said. 

Troopers said that Decenzo was shot twice in the head inside his car along Riffle Hollow Road in German Township, about a 15-minute drive from his Brownsville home. 

Aubele said Decenzo was a much-loved father, grandfather and great-grandfather. 

Pennington has been charged with criminal homicide and is being held in the Fayette County Jail. His bail was denied. He's due in court for a preliminary hearing on April 29. 

Man accused of shooting 83-year-old Pittsburgh-area man 02:48
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.