Trial postponed in Canton Twp. homicide case
The trial for a 55-year-old woman who was arrested for the death in 2010 of a Canton Township woman has been postponed, according to Bradford County District Attorney Dan Barrett.
It was to have begun Monday, May 7, but Barrett said that a pathologist is unavailable. As a result, it's been postponed to an undetermined date.
Emily Ruth Bellows-Shaffer, 55, who has a listed address of Crystal River, Fla., was charged with criminal homicide in the death of Carol Hickok. Barrett said Bellows-Shaffer remains in the Bradford County Correctional Facility.
Jury selection was supposed to have started May 7 with the trial held before Bradford County Judge Maureen Beirne.
Carol Hickok's husband, Roger Hickok, had a son with Bellows-Shaffer as a result of an extra-marital affair, according to court papers. Roger Hickok was granted custody of the child when the child was about 5 years old. The child then resided with Roger Hickok and Carol Hickok from that point forward, police said.
According to court papers: the incident occurred at the Hickok residence around 6 a.m. Sept. 15, 2010 at 197 Mountain View Rd. in Canton Township. Carol Hickok, 65, was found face down at the base of an exterior set of stairs. According to an affidavit, Bellows-Shaffer told police that she wished to see her son on Sept. 15 and drove to the Hickok residence just before daybreak. Bellows-Shaffer said Carol Hickok confronted her inside the residence in the hallway.
The court papers note that while struggling, Bellows-Shaffer pushed Carol Hickok, who then fell headfirst into the dresser and struck the top of her head. Bellows-Shaffer then dragged the lifeless body outside the residence through an exterior door leading from the bedroom to a large deck and down exterior stairs. According to the papers, Bellows-Shaffer indicated that Carol Hickok's body tumbled down the last few stairs onto the ground, where the body was discovered. The affidavit notes that Bellows-Shaffer said she intended to stage the scene in an effort to make Carol Hickok's death appear accidental. When asked for comment by The Daily Review previously, Bradford County Coroner Tom Carman said the cause of death for Carol Hickok was blood loss that was the result of blunt force head trauma and the manner of death was homicide. He said he investigated the incident with the state police in Towanda.
At a preliminary hearing last year, Magisterial District Judge Jonathan Wilcox of Troy bound over charges of criminal homicide, burglary, criminal trespass, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, and aggravated assault against Bellows-Shaffer to the Bradford County Court of Common Pleas.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: email@example.com.