The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

August 27, 2013

No crime found in 2012 death, coroner says

JOHNSTOWN — The man whose body was found in Old Conemaugh Borough last year died from blunt force trauma to the head, but authorities now believe no crime was committed.

Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski said on Tuesday the manner of death for 57-year-old Robert Berk­heimer is undetermined.

“The injuries are consistent with a fall,” Kwiatkowski said.

Berkheimer’s body was found July 19, 2012, in a walkway between the former King Furniture building and another building on Railroad Street. He may have fallen from the roof of one of the buildings, Kwiatkowski said.

Berkheimer had a head injury and some chest wounds, the coroner said.

Although the injuries were consistent with a fall, Kwiatkowski said, they also were consistent with an assault.

“Two forensic pathologists looked at the case and had two conflicting opinions,” he said.

Toxicology results showed no drugs and a trace of alcohol in Berkheimer’s  system, Kwiat­kowski said.

The coroner said Berkheimer had a pipe wrench with him and may have been attempting a break-in to steal copper.

Berkheimer lived near Railroad and Clinton streets. He was an Army veteran who had been living in Johnstown for some time, according to his obituary in a newspaper in his hometown of Milton, Northumberland County.

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PatBuch­nowskiTD.

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