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New details in Franklin area fatal shooting

Submitted Tue, 10/09/2012 - 9:47pm by Andy Alm

SANDYCREEK TWP -- New details are emerging shedding some light on the events that led up to a 13-year-old Oil City boy allegedly shooting and killing his own grandparents.  67-year-old Dorothy and 69-year-old George Fross were found dead in their home in the 11-hundred block of the Polk Cutoff in Sandycreek Township.

The suspect, 13-year-old Zachary Proper, is in jail without bond, being charged as an adult.  A confession allegedly made by Proper to Oil City Police Chief Bob Wenner led to the arrest.

William Proper, the boy’s father, initially called police because he could not get a hold of his parents, the Frosses.  According to an affidavit of probable cause from the Pennsylvania State Police, Wenner met with Zach Proper at the home of his mother and step-father Karen and Ryan Kapp Monday night, a few hours after discovering the Frosses dead in their home.  Proper initially blamed the murder of his grandparents on a friend, but later admitted to the killing, according to police documents, giving the following chilling account of what happened Sunday afternoon.

The affidavit states that Proper told Chief Wenner his grandpa had made a quick run to the store when Proper grabbed a pair of bolt cutters from a shed and opened a gun safe, removing a handgun.    Proper allegedly told Wenner he was mad because his grandparents had been speaking ill about his mother, calling her a “whore.”  Proper said he “walked up behind his grandma, put his iPod earphones in, turned his head away, raised the gun slightly and shot her,” according to police.  At that point, Dorothy Fross fell backward. Then police say Proper told Wenner he called his grandpa, asking him how long he would be.  Grandpa said ten minutes.  Proper allegedly met him at the door, took a pizza from his hands, waited for him to walk past him, and shot him in the shoulder.  Grandpa then began yelling, at which point Proper “dumped the gun until in jammed,” according to police.

After killing both his grandparents, Proper allegedly admitted to stealing their car and driving to a cousin’s house in Oil City, where he apparently stayed the night and partied.  The following day, he returned to his grandparents’ home.  His cousin Jessica Bodien, along with a friend identified as Ryne Kean and a person known only as Brianne, followed him out to the Polk Cuttoff home in order to bring the car back to Oil City.  Proper allegedly told police these people were not aware of what had happened.

Chief Wenner obtained written statements from the Kapps and a drawing by Zach Proper depicting parts of the scene.  At some point during Monday night’s interview, attorney Neil Rothschild, who was contacted by Karen Kapp, called the home and advised the Kapps not to speak with police anymore.

Police tell us they have collected evidence, including clothes and a possible murder weapon, which was apparently thrown into a storm drain in Oil City.

State Police Trooper David Wargo told Forever Broadcasting, “These things take place all over our society, and unfortunately, it really isn’t as shocking as one might expect.”

Asked if there was anything Proper’s parents could have done to prevent this tragedy, Wargo said, “I don’t know. You watch your kids.  I’m sure this family is as shocked as everybody else is by this situation.  There is nothing that showed that there was a problem between him and his grandparents.”

Oil City Police Chief Bob Wenner asked the community to keep the victims in their prayers.

“I would ask that the community take a moment and think of all the families that are involved.  This is no easy thing for anyone, to include the officers, and the other personnel that had to work these things.  So, I ask that the community keep them all in their prayers.  It’s a strong community and we’ll all get through it.”

Zachary Proper is being held in the Venango County Jail without bond, “due to the seriousness of the crime,” said Trooper Wargo.

He is being charged as an adult with two counts of criminal homicide.  Asked whether that means he could face the death penalty, Wargo said that’s up to the District Attorney.  A preliminary hearing is set for October 17th at Venango County Central Court.