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Man accused of killing pregnant Amish woman appears in court

Sparta Twp., Pa (WJET/WFXP)– The suspect accused of killing a pregnant Amish woman appears in Crawford County Court Friday afternoon nearly two weeks after his arrest.

That preliminary hearing for murder suspect Shawn Cranston lasted more than three hours. Several witnesses testified about the events that took place on the day Rebecca Byler was killed last month. 

52-year-old Shawn Cranston appeared in Crawford County Court for a preliminary hearing, Cranston is charged with criminal homicide and three other charges, including criminal homicide of an unborn child.

Several witnesses testified about the day 23-year-old Rebecca Byler was murdered. That killing took place on February 26th inside her home on Fish Flats Road in Sparta Township.

According to members of law enforcement, her two young children were at home at the time.

Rebecca Byler’s husband, 24-year-old Andy Byler, testified that he was shocked to find her when he came home just before 12:30 that afternoon.

He said his two young children were at home at the time. Andy Byler also testifying he did not know Shawn Cranston.

One member of the Amish community testified that she knew Cranston as a driver and that earlier this year he showed up at her house unannounced.

One member of the Amish community added Cranston was wearing all black and carried a pistol on his hip.

Shawn Cranston’s neighbor Jonathan Santry, who is also a driver for the Amish, testified that Cranston’s red Jeep was missing on the morning of Rebecca Byler’s death. 

Several members of Pennsylvania State Police testified they were able to get in touch with Amish who had used Cranston as a driver and were able to obtain a cell phone number which led them to finding his address in Corry. 

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