York County, Pa., criminal attorneys have long sought evidence from the grave
Roses rest on railroad tracks on Newberry Street during the annual Unity March in York, Pa.. The roses lay where Lillie Belle Allen was shot 40 years before. As part of the prosecution of the shootings of Allen and York City Police Officer Henry C. Schaad 30 years after they died, the bodies of the two victims were exhumed. Also of interest: York College of Pennsylvania scholar seeks oral histories about the York Race Riots.
So far, we’ve explored exhumations in York County’s past undertaken to make way for a school, to move to hallowed ground or free land for development.
But most exhumations have taken place for court purposes, to satisfy the quest for defense or prosecution purposes. For example, exhumations of victims Lillie Belle Allen and Henry C. Schaad were ordered in the York Race Riot trails in the early 2000s.
Carl E. Williams, who died in 1965, also was exhumed in this race riot trial period, but no foul play was found leading to his death.
An exhumation aided the prosecution in pinning the death of Joseph Podlucky on Ricky Lagares.
For years, York County was home to a professional who studied exhumed bodies – the late York College of Pennsylvania’s John Levisky II.
Here’s a story on Levisky’s most famous case, an investigation into the Boston Strangler, plus other forensic cases he participated in:
Levisky’s work: Nov. 6, 2012:
John Levisky II did forensic work on high-profile cases nationally and locally.
In 2008, Levisky and a team of college students uncovered some of the skeletal remains of York County murder victim Hopethan Johnson.
Also in York County, in 2005, he reassembled the skull of murder victim Christina Colon, who was pregnant at the time of her death.
Outside of York, he was part of a team that worked on the exhumation of the remains of Albert DeSalvo, the confessed “Boston Strangler” during the summer 2001, according to the college.
He was also part of an effort to examine the remains of biochemist Frank Olson, who jumped out a window in 1953 after the CIA gave him LSD in a secret experiment.
In 2007, he was tapped to help when there was talk of exhuming magician Harry Houdini’s body to investigate the cause of his death, though it never happened.
I would just say I’m sad for those who must do the digging. But justice must be served … .
Also of interest:
Stories and photos about moments of pain and trauma in York County’s past.