The man accused of fatally beating a teenager in Elizabethtown Community Park has been arraigned and is due in court for a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 24, court records show.
David Mikeal Skalla, 24, of Oak Knoll Estates in Conewago Township, Dauphin County, was arraigned Monday, Aug. 20, on charges of criminal homicide and aggravated assault.
The magisterial district court in Elizabethtown released a sworn statement by Elizabethtown Police Detective Dustin H. Ryan after Skalla was arraigned. The statement gives details of how police identified Skalla as a suspect in the Aug. 6 attack on Blake John Shearer, 16, of Bainbridge, who died Aug. 10 at Hershey Medical Center.
In the sworn statement, Ryan wrote that several witnesses reported an unknown man approaching the teen because he “was playing loud music and yelling obscenities along with the music.” Witnesses said the man told the teen to stop, but he refused, and the man then slapped a drink from the teen’s hands and struck him several times in the top of the head.
Ryan wrote that witnesses told police that the teen collapsed and the man left, but they took photos of the back of a vehicle that belonged to someone with him.
Ryan’s statement said he checked the license plate number and the vehicle was registered to an address in Rapho Township. Manheim Borough officers, whose jurisdiction includes Rapho Township, then went to the address and spoke to a woman who said she owned the vehicle and identified the man involved in the altercation as Skalla. She told police that she was nearby but did not see the altercation, and had taken Skalla to his home afterward.
Ryan wrote that he then went to Skalla’s home, but he was not there; a roommate allowed him to search the residence to be sure he was absent. A short time later, Ryan got a phone call from Skalla in which he said he wanted to turn himself in and talk to police. Ryan then returned to Skalla’s home, where he agreed to be interviewed.
Skalla told Ryan that the teen was playing loud music and screaming obscenities. Skalla told Ryan that he approached the teen and told him to stop yelling obscenities, but the teen would not. Skalla then alleged that the teen slapped him and he responded by hitting the teen in the top of the head once. Skalla told Ryan that he did not see the teen unconscious, but that others with the teen told him he “had killed” the teen before he left.
Ryan wrote that the day after the attack, the woman who drove Skalla away showed up at the police station for a voluntary interview. She told police that she was at the park with Skalla and her children when Skalla became upset about the teen’s vulgar language. She told police that she told Skalla not to confront the teen, but when he didn’t listen, she went to get her children nearby. She said she heard a scuffle, then ran down to where Skalla was near the teen. She said the teen was “slouched down in a seated position leaning back against the railing of the bridge,” Ryan wrote.
Ryan wrote that the woman told him she returnedto her vehicle to get a jug of water for the teen, but when she returned, he had not regained consciousness. She said she was concerned that Skalla would get into an altercation with the teen’s friends, so she left. She said she later asked Skalla what happened and he told her he was so angry that he “blacked out” and could not remember what happened.
Ryan wrote that on Friday, Aug. 10, he interviewed two witnesses to the attack; both described seeing Skalla smacking a drink out of the teen’s hands, then punching him multiple times before the teen lost consciousness. That same day, he was advised that the teen died at Hershey Medical Center.
The charges against Skalla are one of two current homicide cases in Elizabethtown. In an unrelated case, Candace M. Parrow, 23, was arrested Monday, Aug. 13, and charged with criminal homicide and other offenses in the July 19 death of her 4-month-old daughter. She is accused of strangling the baby in her apartment on East Orange Street between Market Street and Cherry Alley. Parrow is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 10:15 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 27, before Magisterial District Judge Robert A. Herman Jr., court records show.
Correction: An earlier version of this article erroneously reported that Skalla’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 24. The correct date is Monday, Sept. 24.