Charges filed in Frank Crash murder investigation

MERCER, Pa. (WYTV) – Mercer Co. District Attorney Robert Kochems announced at a news conference Thursday that Tracy Hassel has been charged with second degree murder, third degree murder, robbery, burglary and theft in connection with the July 2013 stabbing death of Mercer County businessman Frank Crash.

Hassel was one of the original persons of interest in the case and is currently in the Pennsylvania state prison in Muncy, Pa. on a burglary charge not related to the Crash murder case.

Hassel was an acquaintance of Crash’s, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by WKBN Thursday.

Police are still investigating a male person of interest in the case, Kochems said at the conference. Authorities have not found the murder weapon.

Crash was found dead, stabbed more than 70 times, inside his Hempfield Township home in July of 2013. His cell phone had been smashed and the phone cord pulled out of the wall.

A gold 3.5 carat diamond ring was missing from Crash’s home.

According to a criminal complaint filed in a district court in Mercer County, police believe Hassel needed bail money for her boyfriend, who was in jail, and broke into Crash’s house through a rear sliding glass door.

Police found Crash with his pants pockets turned inside out and believe that Hassel took money and credit cards from his pockets after searching through his dresser drawers and taking a diamond ring from his finger.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, also filed in a district court in Mercer County, investigators found Hassel’s DNA on a cigarette inside Crash’s house near the murder scene and on the sliding glass door at his house.

The affidavit also states that police interviewed Hassel’s boyfriend, Steve Mortland, who said Hassel told him, shortly after police found Crash dead, that she stabbed someone. Police say Hassel later clarified to Mortland that that person was Crash, according to the affidavit.

Mortland told police he went to an area near Sycamore St. in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Pittsburgh and threw away some clothing which belonged to Hassel, which she claimed was what she was wearing when she stabbed Crash, the affidavit said. Police later visited that area and recovered several items, including a wig. Fibers from that wig matched fibers found at the crime scene, according to the affidavit.

Frank Crash was the owner of Frank Crash Auto Wrecking. The business continues at two locations in Greenville, Pa.

To read the full criminal complaint and affidavit, click here.

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