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Official disputes claims



Published: Fri, September 8, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The FBI said it had not been contacted by the brother of the slain man.

By D.A. WILKINSON

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

WELLSVILLE -- Columbiana County Prosecutor Robert Herron says the brother of a slaying victim is making false claims about the case.

Steven P. Roberts of Wellsville earlier this week asked Wellsville Village Council to bring in outside help to solve the slaying of his brother, Craig.

Craig Roberts, 43, the owner of Boot Hill Towing, was found in the master bedroom of his home on Wells-Hollow Road. Authorities said he had been shot twice in the head after midnight and before 6 a.m. Aug. 26, 2002.

According to a published report, Stephen P. Roberts told council that he had talked to the FBI but was told the agency could not get involved without the consent of village Police Chief Joe Scarabino.

Six council members voted to seek outside help if needed.

But Scarabino and Herron said Thursday that the FBI has been involved in the investigation from the start and has helped with lab tests.

The FBI has not directly investigated the case, Scarabino and Herron said, because the killing is not a federal crime.

The chief said he will not be satisfied until someone is tried and convicted in the killing of Craig Roberts.

What was learned

The prosecutor has talked to John Lichtefeld, the supervisory special agent in charge of the Youngstown FBI that covers Columbiana County. Herron said Steven P. Roberts had not contacted the Youngstown office.

Lichtefeld confirmed that Thursday. He said he had not checked with other area FBI offices.

The supervisory agent said the FBI does not need permission to get involved in a case if there is an apparent violation of federal law.

Steven P. Roberts did not return a call to comment. He filed a lawsuit in county Common Pleas Court in 2005 as the executor of his late brother's estate. The lawsuit seeks permission from the court to question people tied to the investigation to gather information for use in a wrongful-death lawsuit.

County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike is expected to rule soon on the civil suit.

The lawsuit wants permission to question a woman who was Craig Roberts' girlfriend, along with Herron, Scarabino and others.

Herron has filed a motion asking that the case be dismissed on the grounds it could interfere with the criminal investigation.

wilkinson@vindy.com




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