The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 7, 2013

Noise dispute leads to killings: Former Boswell man, fiancee shot by neighbor, police say


STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

GREENSBURG — A former Boswell man and his fiancee were shot to death Wednesday by their neighbor after the neighbor became provoked by an ongoing dispute between the three over noise at their Greensburg area apartment complex, state police said.

The neighbor, Philip Cancilla, 51, later was found dead at his apartment.

Police identified the couple as Timothy Scott Reffner, 30, formerly of Boswell, and Christina White, 23.

The gunman ambushed the couple as they carried laundry out of their apartment to wash it at a relative’s home, police said. Cancilla chased the couple and shot both in a nearby parking lot, said Trooper Stephen Limani.

Autopsies determined that White was shot five times and Reffner six times. Cancilla used two handguns, a .22- and a .45-caliber, both registered to him, Limani said.

Inside Cancilla’s apartment, police found a note that read, “Can only be provoked so long before exploding,” Limani said.

Police believe that note referred to an ongoing feud between Cancilla and the couple, with both parties complaining about noise and music coming from the other’s apartment.

Cancilla lived below the couple.

White had worked since August as a guard at the Westmoreland County Jail. Reffner, who recently returned home from a tour of duty in Iraq, had worked at Sonfast Distributors in Somerset.

A friend and high school classmate of Reffner, Chris Evans of Elton, was stunned upon finding out what had happened.

“(My reaction was) disbelief that something like that could happen to him,” Evans said. “I know the past couple of years he kind of struggled with his life, but he was starting to get back on track. I’m still in disbelief.

“It makes you think twice,” Evans said. “Any confrontation you have with somebody, it seems to be what people resort to now is the extreme.”

Evans recalls the high school days when the two and others went fishing every day during the summer.

“We’d all hang out at his house. You couldn’t have asked for a better guy.

“He definitely was loved by everybody. He was nice to everybody.”

Reffner is survived by his parents, Jan and Ethel Reffner, Boswell, a daughter, Addason, and a brother, Edward, Boswell.

He was a 2001 graduate of North Star High School.