The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

August 3, 2013

Charges expected in hammer slaying

Kathy Mellott
kmellott@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — A death Friday night in Moxham has been ruled a homicide, and Johnstown police were expected to file charges late Saturday against an unnamed person, likely the son of the victim,  who was living in the home at the time.

The victim, identified as John Patrick Kuzma, 52, of the 200 block of Bond Street, died as the result of two strikes to the top part of the skull, said Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski following an autopsy Saturday at Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown.

The murder weapon was described by the coroner as a carpenter’s hammer.

 The attack is believed to have taken place in the living room of the home, but the body was found at the foot of the basement steps, Kwiatkowski said.

Authorities concluded that the suspect moved the body to the basement before fleeing the scene, he said.

Kuzma was pronounced dead at the scene.

Johnstown police could not be reached for comment Saturday, but Cambria County First Deputy District Attorney Heath Long said the charges include a number of counts in addition to one of general homicide.

Long would not identify the suspect, but told The Tribune-Democrat: “I do believe that this was domestic in nature.”

The initial call following the attack Friday came into the county 911 center at 8:44 p.m. That call included information to the dispatcher that a man had told his brother that he had killed their father with a hammer.

Neighbors in the Moxham community said that much of the street was closed late Friday, and as of Saturday, yellow police tape cordoned off the area around the house of the victim.