Nearby: Richland Man Charged with Homicide in Stabbing Death of Grandmother

Levi Staver is in the Allegheny County Jail, awaiting a hearing Friday.

The 26-year-old Richland man charged with killing his grandmother told police he was sitting at the computer in his bedroom when the archangel directed him to “kill the witch,” according to a criminal complaint.

Levi Daniel Staver is charged with criminal homicide for Tuesday’s stabbing death of his grandmother, Constance Johnston, at their Richland Township home.

According to the criminal complaint, Staver told detectives that he made the sign of the cross, got dressed like a soldier, took a sword and said, “This thing has got to go.”

Allegheny County detectives said Staver used a large, black bowie knife, not a sword, the complaint states.

Staver was quoted as saying that if the archangels want him to do something, he does it, the complaint states.

When asked by detectives if he was employed, Staver said he was employed by the “angelic army,” under the direction of the archangel Michael, according to the complaint.

Staver is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Friday. He is being held without bond in the Allegheny County Jail.

Police arrested Staver Tuesday morning after they responded to a report of a stabbing at the home in the 3900 block of Gibsonia Road, Route 910.

Constance Johnston, 76, was eating breakfast with her husband, the Rev. David Johnston, when their grandson came upstairs from the basement and stabbed his grandmother in the back, according to Northern Regional Police Chief T. Robert Amann.

Staver lived at the home with his mother and grandparents. His grandfather is the pastor of Lifeline Community Church, which is affiliated with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

Amann said police have responded to the house previously, but he was not certain how many times. 

He said Staver had no major criminal background but was arrested about a month ago for retail theft in Cranberry Township.


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Dpat February 20, 2013 at 04:50 AM
Why did the county mental health professionals fail to find a way to help this young man? Their failure - which really is a failure of the laws supposedly protecting the mentally ill - has destroyed a family. It's time we stood up for the rights of families to protect and provide for their children, including their young adult children with mental illnesses. The mother of this young man tried many, many, many times to get SOMEONE to listen to her. There was nothing they could do, though, because the threat (to oneself or others) had to be imminent. Every single mental health professional out there knows that "imminent" doesn't necessarily mean "within the next hour or two."


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