Criminal complaint: West Deer man shot, killed parents in 2011



WEST DEER, Pa. - Police have charged a West Deer man with two counts of criminal homicide in the deaths of his parents.

Investigators said James Yeckel Jr., 52, killed his mother and father at their Starz Road home in September 2011.

Detectives said James and Carol Ann Yeckel were killed with a shotgun. Police discovered the gruesome slaying after a neighbor saw Carol Ann Yeckel's body lying in the living room.

James Yeckel's body was found in the kitchen of the one-story ranch home, police said.

James Yeckel Jr. was questioned days after the deaths but wasn't formally charged until Friday.

While police were leading Yeckel to jail, Channel 11’s Renee Kaminski asked him if he killed his parents, to which Yeckel responded, “I have no comment. 

“Of course I would be upset, but I have no comment other than that, thank you,” he said.

In the criminal complaint obtained by Channel 11 News, police said that detectives interviewed the couple's daughter, Deborah Rees, who said her brother had been suffering from mental illness. She said that her brother had lost his house, family and job as a result of severe depression and paranoia.

Police said the Yeckels had returned to their West Deer home on April 15, 2011 after spending the winter in Florida. Rees told officers that when her parents returned they were surprised to find that James Yeckel had been living in the home for an unknown amount of time.

Rees said her mother and father had assumed James Yeckel had been in the home for a significant amount of time because the house was "trashed."

According to the criminal complaint, James Yeckel acted strangley strangely while living with his parents. Rees told officers that, "Because her mother yelled at James for being so messy he refused to use the bathroom inside of the house and instead went into the woods behind the house to relieve himself. He would also go outside when it was raining to take a shower," the complaint stated.

On June 5, 2011 Rees told officers that her brother and mother got into an argument and he left, but by August 2011 he had returned to live with them. Rees said her mother was growing concerned over James' behavior.

The complaint stated, "She said her mother told her that James was chain smoking and drinking Pepsi all of the time. She said he refused to eat with them and when [Carol Ann Yeckel] insisted that he eat with them he would put all of his food into a bowl, mix ketchup in it, then eat like an animal."

The complaint also noted that Carol Ann Yeckel told her daughter that she was afraid of James.

Police determined that both victims died of multiple gunshot wounds.

In the days following his parent's deaths, police said they were unable to locate James Yeckel Jr.. On September 10 officers spotted James Yeckel Jr. walking along Freeport Road in Harmarville after bank activity linked him to the area.

West Deer Police took him into custody, where he then kicked over two computers and a fingerprint machine while being questioned. At that time, James Yeckel Jr. was charged with criminal mischief.

On Oct. 15, 2011 a DNA sample taken from James Yeckel Jr. was sent to the lab to be compared to DNA evidence found at the scene. On March 21, 2012 the results of the tests concluded that the samples matched.