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Man Charged With Killing Witness In Pittsburgh Heroin Probe

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - In August 2014, gunfire rang out in Schenley Heights. One woman was killed and her mother was wounded.

Turns out the woman killed, 34-year-old Tina Crawford, was minutes away from an appointment with the U.S. Attorney's office.

"Four days before Price Montgomery was to be charged federally, and less than 75 minutes before Tina Crawford was scheduled to appear at the U.S. Attorney's office, Tina Crawford was assassinated and her mother severely wounded in the garage area of their Hill District home," said U.S. Attorney David Hickton.

Montgomery was under investigation for heroin trafficking after agents from the state attorney general's office raided his Mt. Washington home and found 1500 bricks of heroin, 16 guns and cash.

Monday, federal, state and local agencies were on hand for the announcement of the new charges:

"Charging Price Montgomery with crimes relating to the August 22, 2014 murder of Tina Crawford, a federal witness against him and an attempt to kill her mother Patsy Crawford, who survived," said Hickton.

Federal prosecutors plan to seek life in prison for Montgomery rather than the death penalty.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was among those who applauded the charges.

"Tina Crawford lost her life doing what she felt was best for her community," said Kane, "and that was being an informant and giving information to law enforcement regarding a drug dealer. A dangerous drug dealer," she said.

Investigators would not comment on the status of the investigation other than to say it is ongoing.  Montgomery has also been charged with trying to have other witnesses killed while he was in Ohio.

Why has this investigation taken two years?

"I know to the public it may seem that this is a long time," said prosecutor Hickton, "but actually these investigations are time consuming and very thorough and I also want to add that witness retaliation certainly on this scale is actually very rare. The drug dealers we face seek to intimidate the public and witnesses from coming forward by makng people feel that this happens often but this is a rare event," he said.

Montgomery is expected to be arraigned on the new charges in the next few weeks but he remains in a  federal lockup in Ohio for now.

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