TIDIOUTE - The dying declaration of a fatally shot woman led to the arrest of a suspect early Friday morning.
Warren-based state police identified the victim as Kathleen Sweeney, 56, of Davey Hill Road, Tidioute.
Randy Lee Poole, 52, Tidioute, was charged by police around 1 a.m. Friday following a manhunt which lasted nearly 10 hours.
Randy Lee Poole
State police were dispatched to the scene of the shooting just after 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon after receiving a 911 call believed to be from the victim.
Warren County District Attorney Ross McKeirnan said she then called a friend and made her dying declaration, identifying Poole as the intruder and gunman.
That information, police said, led to a warrant being issued for Poole's arrest on charges of criminal homicide and burglary.
Police said Sweeney was deceased upon their arrival at her residence. She was believed to be alone in the house.
Jerry Borden, Warren County coroner, said after an autopsy was completed that the cause of death was "gunshots to the head" and that the "manner of death is homicide."
At 7:25 p.m. Thursday, Poole was seen in a red Chevrolet pick-up truck on Tidioute-Enterprise Road and a short pursuit ensued, ending with Poole crashing the vehicle two miles west of Tidioute. Police said Poole then fled on foot into the woods, initiating a search by law enforcement which lasted nearly five hours.
Poole was located at 1 a.m. Friday and taken into custody a short distance from the scene of the crash.
Poole was taken to Warren General Hospital for treatment of the injuries sustained in the crash, then transferred to UPMC Hamot in Erie.
According to McKeirnan and the state police, Poole remains under armed guard in Hamot's Intensive Care Unit. Officials declined to discuss his injuries.
Officials are awaiting the results of toxicology reports for both Sweeney and Poole. According to Borden, toxicology results could take six to ten weeks to return.
A date has not yet been set for Poole's arraignment because of his injuries, but McKeirnan emphasized that Poole will be held in the Warren County Jail without the possibility of bail.
According to McKeirnan, the motive for the shooting is unknown and a search continues for the weapon allegedly used in the shooting.
Anyone with information about Poole before or after the incident is asked to contact the state police at 728-3600 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-83CRIME.