“Angel on Earth:” Best friend of woman murdered in Westmoreland Co. speaks out

PENN TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Channel 11 is learning more about the couple killed Sunday in Penn Township and for the first time, we’re hearing from someone who knew Mara Casale.

Her best friend, Sara Wally, wants her to be remembered for the friend, daughter, sister and aunt she was, and not for the horrific tragedy that took the life of her and her boyfriend.

“It’s just been devastating. It’s been totally devastating to know that we lost such a good person. It just breaks my heart that I’ll never get to talk to my best friend again,” Wally explained.

Family and friends described Casale as an angel on earth.

“Mara was just a total goofball,” Wally said. “She was so fun to be around; she lit up a room any time she came in. Everybody from where she worked to her friends, nobody had a bad word to say about her.”

Casale and her boyfriend Jacob Erdeljac were ambushed and gunned down at their Penn Township home sometime Sunday evening.

Related: Man, woman found murdered in Penn Township home

Police explained that Victor Steban was lying in wait for them, allegedly in retaliation for feeling disrespected by Erdeljac.

Steban is also suspected of shooting at three homes and is also a person of interest in a car bombing in Westmoreland County. He was taken into custody near the Sheetz at Thompson Lane and Route 30 in Irwin on Tuesday afternoon.

Those who knew her best say they want Casale to be remembered for the bright light she was and the incredible impact she’s leaving behind.

“She was such an old soul, she hated technology,” Wally explained. “We just want them to remember her for how loving she was. How giving she was. She would’ve done anything for a total stranger, and that’s how she deserves to be remembered. Not like this. Not like this tragedy.”

A GoFundMe page has been created to help with costs.