Four years after the bodies of Miles and Mary Warner, both 81, were found shot to death in their Atwater Road home in Chadds Ford, a suspect has been charged with their murders.
Walter Rosengarth, already serving time in prison for a July 2003 incident in which he shot and wounded two Chester County sheriff's deputies, was arraigned before District Justice Richard Cappelli last week.
Rosengarth, 67, told reporters after the arraignment that he shot the Warners because "They were poisoning people."
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for 8:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 21, at Cappelli's courtroom in Concordville.
Rosengarth, formerly of East Marlborough Township, Chester County, is charged with fatally shooting the Warners in their home in December of 2002. The bodies were found the morning of Dec. 10 by the couple's daughter.
Delaware County District Attorney G. Michael Green said at a press conference in Media that no murder weapon has been recovered. He would not discuss any physical evidence that might have been uncovered since the matter falls under "statutory mandates of secrecy" because the case remains part of an ongoing grand jury investigation.
The only physical evidence mentioned in the Affidavit of Probable Cause was that a damaged projectile, apparently recovered from the crime scene, was found to be consistent with a .22 caliber bullet.
Green called the shootings "a cold blooded, execution style murder," during the press conference at the County Courthouse in Media.
He reminded reporters that the charges remain only allegations unless and until Rosengarth is proven guilty.
While Green would not discuss physical evidence, he said Rosengarth came under suspicion earlier this year after authorities became aware of statements he made that were later corroborated by unnamed sources.
The accused is already serving 18 to 36 years for wounding the Chester County deputies who were serving an eviction notice on Rosengarth. He was found guilty but mentally ill of aggravated assault and attempted aggravated assault, but found not guilty by reason of insanity on several charges after mental health professionals testified that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was "psychotic."
Green acknowledged Rosengarth's mental condition but said he didn't think mental illness caused his statements and that he believes Rosengarth is competent to stand trial.
But the lack of physical evidence revealed to the public and the concerns over Rosengarth's mental state have some Chadds Ford residents thinking it's too soon to consider the case closed.
Fred Reiter, a long-time neighbor of the Warners does not feel any sense of closure in the case, at least not yet.
"The guy doesn't seem to be in his right mind and some people confess to draw attention to themselves. I'm reluctant to consider closure until evidence is brought forward. There were no footprints found and no weapon. As long as there is a cloud of insanity, people won't accept closure."
Judy Jarvis, whose home is across the street from the former Warner property, is also hesitant to claim closure and says the authorities have a lot of explaining to do.
"Police reassured us there was no crazy person on the loose after the murders," she said. "If that wasn't the case they have a lot of explaining to do."
And she's not sure the confession is reliable.
"Rosengarth's confession makes me think of the JonBenet Ramsey case."
She was referring to the confession of John Mark Karr who pleaded guilty to that 1996 Colorado murder but was cleared by DNA evidence.
"We don't know what happened to the weapon," Jarvis continued. "The opera ain't over until the fat lady sings."
Lou D'Iorio also knew the Warners and was called to testify before the grand Jury two years ago.
As with Reiter, and Jarvis, D'Iorio does not feel a sense of closure at this point.
"We need to sit back and let the facts present themselves. I hope [investigators] are on the right track and have evidence. But if they have the right man, then congratulations."
Bob Warner, one of Miles Warner's sons, also says there's still more to go through.
He was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer as saying, "I'm not sure about that closure concept. First of all, there is still a criminal proceeding ahead of us. My father would be the first person to caution that these are only charges. Mr. Rosengarth is entitled to a fair trial and presumption of innocence."
Rosengarth is charged with two counts each of murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree and murder in the third degree.