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Thursday, August 17, 2000

[PA] Suicide of Chief Holcomb

POLICE CHIEF , WIFE REFUSE TO TESTIFY
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
August 21, 1998
The police chief of Dale, Cambria County, and his wife no longer face domestic violence charges because they refused to testify against each other. District Justice Leonard Grecek dismissed the case Wednesday after Terry Holcomb , 27, and his wife, Maria, 36, said they would not testify against each other and after prosecutors were unable to present evidence showing their actions were criminal. The Holcombs were each charged with simple assault and domestic violence after a fight in their home Aug. 9. Police said Terry Holcomb grabbed his wife's hair and pulled her onto a bed and that Maria Holcomb grabbed her husband's hair and punched him in the mouth. "I'm not a rogue cop. I come out and do my job to the best of my ability," Holcomb said after the hearing Wednesday. He said they were seeking marital counseling. "It's a shame," his wife said. "Just because my husband holds an office, we can't have an argument without it going public."

POLICE CHIEF CHARGED WITH THEFT
East Neighborhoods
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) - January 26, 2000
Johnstown
A suburban Johnstown police chief was charged yesterday with padding his time slips with overtime he never worked, allowing him to pocket $7,616 from the tiny borough he works for. The Cambria County district attorney's office charged Dale Chief Terry Holcomb with theft by deception and records tampering for cheating the borough of 1,500 people on the fringe of Johnstown. An arrest affidavit says Holcomb turned in time slips stating he worked 539 extra hours last year for the Cambria County Drug Task Force, a consortium of county law enforcement agencies. After a police officer questioned Holcomb's accounting two weeks ago, a county detective checked pay records and found Holcomb worked no hours for the task force...

SMALL-TOWN POLICE OFFICER KILLS HIMSELF BEFORE FACING FELONY CHARGES
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Tom Gibb
August 17, 2000
By most accounts, Terry Holcomb was basically a good cop, a guy made for small towns. He was a stop-and-chat type. He thrived on running child safety programs and bike jamborees. A regular Joe, outfitted in a police uniform. "Being a policeman -- that was his whole life, that and his kids," wife Maria Holcomb said yesterday. Then Terry Holcomb stepped over the line. Last year, he padded pay sheets he submitted to a regional anti-drug force. It cost him his $19,000-a-year job as police chief in Dale, an island of a borough surrounded by Johnstown. Today, he was to go before a Cambria County judge and admit to the charges -- a confession that, after a dozen years as a police officer, would keep him from policing again. Instead, in the predawn yesterday, Holcomb -- 31, married, the father of two elementary school-age children -- killed himself with a single bullet, fired when he was alone upstairs in his Dale home. Moments before, his wife of four years had hurried downstairs to phone police , investigators said. Maria Holcomb said yesterday that her husband hadn't attacked her but that he had grown upset -- she won't say about what -- and that she phoned for local police , hoping that friends on the local force might calm him. But likely, there was a connection between today's guilty plea and the suicide, Maria Holcomb said... he left no note and made no threat, his wife said; the police officer gave investigators a case they're unlikely to solve... Holcomb began his police career 14 miles across Cambria County, in his native Nanty Glo and nearby Vintondale. It was in Dale where he became a fixture, though, joining the police force 10 years ago and later becoming chief...