By EMMALEE C. TORISK
The man arrested Wednes- day in the slaying of a 56-year-old Struthers Manor resident likely won’t be extradited from Pennsylvania to Ohio until early next week.
But Roy Cleary, 40, will appear in Struthers Municipal Court on charges of murder and auto theft shortly afterward, authorities say.
Cleary was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Detective Jeff Lewis of the Struthers Police Department said Cleary, who had been seen leaving Struthers Manor on Sunday night in victim Mark Westfall’s vehicle, had visited multiple western Pennsylvania emergency rooms between then and the time of his arrest, claiming a shoulder injury and seeking prescription drugs. Surveillance video of those visits exists.
Lewis added that police recovered Westfall’s white 1999 Chevrolet Blazer at UPMC Horizon in Farrell, Pa. Both Lewis and Police Chief Tim Roddy questioned Cleary late Wednesday at the Allegheny County Jail, where he spent the night.
Cleary and Westfall had known each other through the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority-owned facility, Lewis said. Westfall was friends with Cleary’s mother, who also lives on the complex’s third floor. Cleary likely had been staying with her, perhaps since his return to the area about two months ago, Lewis said.
Guest stays at Struthers Manor are limited to seven days, said James Winston, public safety/inspection specialist for YMHA, who added that Cleary was not listed on the apartment’s lease. To YMHA officials’ knowledge, Cleary was not living there, though he did have a legitimate reason to be in the complex, he said.
“It’s a senior building,” Winston said. “We don’t have families living in senior buildings.”
Historically, Struthers Manor has been one of YMHA’s most desirable residences, with a waiting list several hundred names deep.
During Thursday’s regular meeting of the YMHA board of commissioners, Executive Director Carmelita Douglas explained that from January to the present, and in all of 2013, only four calls for service each year were made. Most, when investigated, were found by police to be unfounded.
In addition, there are just two ways to gain entry into the complex: entering with a key or having someone physically open the door. Winston said security cameras have been ordered and will be installed at the entry and exit doors within the next 10 days.
Other YMHA sites have security cameras, Douglas said, but with the program’s limited resources, installing them at the previously unproblematic Struthers Manor hadn’t been a priority.
“We are very saddened by the fact someone had to lose their life in one of our buildings,” she added. “But this situation could’ve happened anywhere.”
Lewis noted that Cleary has a “very extensive” criminal record, including a warrant for a robbery in Struthers dating back to 2005. He also has a host of charges in Florida and Maryland, and told authorities he had been out of the area, working as a traveling salesman for chemical companies, for almost the past decade.
Struthers police are awaiting results from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for evidence recovered at the scene. They arrived there — along with the Mahoning County Homicide Task Force, BCI and the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office — about noon Tuesday, and found that Westfall had been stabbed multiple times in his back, abdomen, neck and arms. He hadn’t been seen since Sunday, and a maintenance worker sent to check on him found his body.
Lewis said evidence sent to BCI includes clothing with visible blood stains that police believe Cleary wore on the night of the slaying. The items, including a pair of shoes that matched a footprint in blood in Westfall’s apartment, were found in Cleary’s mother’s apartment.
“He was definitely a person of interest right away,” Lewis said.
Contributor: Staff writer Peter H. Milliken