Suspect in homicide case can see child

HOLLIDAYSBURG — An Altoona woman awaiting trial on conspiracy to commit homicide may be permitted contact visits with her infant child, according to an order signed Friday by Senior Judge Daniel Howsare of Bedford County.

Taylor Griffith, 27, is charged along with two men in the murder of Steven Hackney of Altoona, who was found in his Willow Avenue home on July 13, 2013.

Hackney, 37, had been shot three times.

It took Altoona police four years to the day to arrest the suspects in the killing.

They included Griffith, Qasim L. Sharif Green, 23, and Hashif Ellis, 31.

Griffith and the others were charged with conspiracy to commit criminal homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, criminal trespass, recklessly endangering another person, discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure, criminal use of a communication facility and possession with intent to distribute.

The young mother waived the charges to the Blair County Court in July. Green waived his charges Tuesday.

The charges against Ellis were bound over for trial Tuesday after a 3.5-hour preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey P. Auker.

Griffith is the mother of a 6-month-old infant, and on Friday her attorney, Mark S. Zearfaus, presented a petition to the visiting judge asking if he had any objections allowing contact visits between Griffith and the baby.

The prison where Griffith is being held would not grant such visits without a court order, Zearfaus said.

Griffith was not present in court Friday.

Zearfaus met in chambers with the judge for a short period of time, and Howsare then took the bench where he signed the petition stating he had no objections.

The defense attorney reported to the judge that Blair County Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks, who is prosecuting the homicide case, also had no objections.

The only question the judge had was whether the Cambria County Prison, where Griffith is being housed, would limit the number of visits.

Zearfaus replied that would be up to the prison.