Death ruled a homicide
The death of a 50-year-old man found in his home in Altamont, West Mahanoy Township, Monday morning has been ruled a homicide.
An autopsy conducted at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest Tuesday morning determined the manner of death of David R. Halaburda, Schuylkill County Coroner Dr. David Moylan said.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Rameen Starling-Roney also determined Halaburda died of "blunt force head and neck injuries," Moylan said.
Halaburda was found dead in his 256 S. Wylam St. home after police were called to a disturbance about 8 a.m. involving the man's roommate, Thomas Petrousky, 53, and a neighbor, James Dellock, who lives across the street.
After arresting Petrousky and subsequently finding Halaburda's body, township police Chief Shawn Tray got search warrants from the office of Magisterial District Judge David J. Rossi, Tremont.
The warrants allowed local, state and county investigators, along with a state police Forensic Services Unit, to search the Halaburda home for evidence. They also examined Petrousky and took his clothing as evidence.
Petrousky has not been identified as a suspect in the case.
In the search warrant, Tray said that officers were called for a disturbance in the 200 block of South Wylam Street where township Patrolman Ray Tonkinson and Frackville police Patrolman Christopher Hand took Petrousky into custody.
Tray said that, before getting Petrousky in the back of a patrol vehicle, officers said he appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance and had blood on his clothing.
Hand and Butler Township police Patrolman Shawn Butler secured Petrousky's dog, which was running in the street.
When the officers returned the dog to the Petrousky home they found a man, later identified as Halaburda, lying motionless on the floor in the first floor front room, Tray said.
Tray said Halaburda, owner of the home, was pronounced dead at the scene by Schuylkill County Deputy Coroner Andrew Szczyglak, Shenandoah, and at that point the death was termed suspicious.
In his affidavit of probable cause for obtaining the warrant, Tray said officers previously were called to the home about 2 a.m. Sunday for a disturbance and spoke to both Halaburda and Petrousky.
Also on Sunday, state police troopers from the Frackville station were called during the afternoon hours for a disturbance between the two men and charged Petrousky with harassment for allegedly hitting Halaburda in the head.
Late Monday night Petrousky was taken to Schuylkill Medical Center-South Jackson Street for evaluation.
He is facing charges stemming from the incident involving Dellock, of 249 S. Wylam St., that led to the discovery of Halaburda.
An arrest warrant for that incident was secured from Rossi but was not served as of Tuesday afternoon. Police said Petrousky is facing charges of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, criminal mischief and harassment.
No charges have been filed in the homicide investigation and Tray could not be contacted for comment Tuesday.