Daughter of couple killed execution-style in 2008 testifies

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BEAVER FALLS, Pa. - The two men accused of murdering a husband and wife in Beaver Falls in 2008 appeared in court Wednesday.

In July, police arrested two people in connection with the execution-style killings of Demetria and Richard Harper on June 20, 2008.

Police said Robert Burgess, of Pittsburgh, and Devon Shealey, of Frackville, were charged in the case.

Officers said the Harpers had been shot once in the head and left in the basement.

Two of their three children were locked in a closet, physically unharmed. Authorities said the kids most likely heard the shots that killed their parents.

One of the victims' daughters, who was 11 years old at the time, testified in court on Wednesday.

She said two men wearing masks and gloves told her to close her eyes and go down to the basement. The girl testified that tshe kept her eyes open and saw her parents tied up on the floor.

District Attorney Anthony Berosh said it was the small children who kept police motivated.

"I believe the look in those children's eyes when the Beaver Falls police got there provided that dedication to have us arrive at the point that we're at today," Berosh said when Burgess and Shealey were arrested.

Richard Harper's sister, Joann Vaughn, who found the bodies of Richard and Demetria, said the kids are still having problems.

"I was excited, but scared at the same time. I'm very relieved because my prayers were answered. Thanks for all of your prayers," Vaughn said.

Investigators said they believe the shooting was over drugs.

Defense attorney Blaine Jones said his client is innocent and he plans on fighting all of the charges.

"My heart goes out to the family, particularly the kids, but when it comes down to it, my client had nothing to do with that and we're going to go in and fight," Jones said.

The girls have since moved from the area and live with their grandparents out of state. They are expected to attend the testimony, which should last at least a few more days.