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Film based on murder of student to air



Published: Sat, June 23, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



GREENVILLE, Pa. -- The name has been changed but a 1997 made-for-television fictionalized account of the 1988 murder of former Thiel College student Roger "Butch" Pratt will air at 8 p.m. today on the Lifetime network.

It was called, "Whatever Happened To Bobby Earl?" when it first aired on CBS in January 1998.

Michael Pratt of Warren, Roger's brother, said the movie, starring Kate Jackson, is now called "Murder in a College Town."

It tells the story of Roger's murder at the hands of his college roommate and others. The names of the people involved in the case were changed for the movie.

What happened: Authorities said Pratt was killed near Akron to keep him from telling what he knew about a 1988 furniture store arson in Greenville.

His college roommate, Edward Swiger, is serving 40 years to life in an Ohio prison for murder.

Swiger's brother, Michael, is serving 21 to 53 years for manslaughter, and Linda Karlen is serving 7 to 15 years for conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Both are also in Ohio prisons.

All three also pleaded guilty to arson charges in the furniture store fire and are facing prison sentences in Pennsylvania when they are released by Ohio authorities.




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