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Penn. Police Criticize Pace of Ohio Death Investigation

BALDWIN, Pa. (AP) -- Investigators in this borough near Pittsburgh are criticizing their counterparts in Ohio, who are investigating the 6-year-old death of a medical student.

Anthony Proviano, 29, of Baldwin, was found shot in the chest with his own gun behind a hotel along Interstate 70 in Belmont County, Ohio, on Dec. 28, 1997 -- five days after his family expected him home from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. His car was found nearby in a hotel parking lot, its trunk filled with Christmas presents.

Baldwin Police Chief Chris Kelly and Bill Fera, a retired Allegheny County homicide investigator who is donating his time to Proviano's family, said Ohio prosecutors have failed to identify and interview witnesses, despite having what they say is enough evidence to charge a Washington County couple.

Dan Fry, assistant prosecutor in Belmont County, dismissed the criticism.

"It is moving forward as (far as) we're concerned," Fry told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for a story Thursday. "This is an honest disagreement as to what is a prosecutable case and what is not. With all due respect to Chief Kelly, he has not tried a case in a courtroom. I have for 25 years."

A Belmont County grand jury heard evidence two years ago but didn't return any indictments.

Since then, Marlene Smith, 48, the girlfriend of Doug Main, 42, has implicated him in Proviano's murder in both conversations with friends and a videotaped statement to detectives.

Kelly said Smith told friends, "Me and Doug robbed a guy. Doug shot him and left him for dead. We were so scared we left all the Christmas presents in the car."

A number for a Doug Main in Washington rang unanswered Thursday.

"The most frustrating part of this is we have (Smith) in her own words talking about the death and disposal of Anthony's body and it has not generated any form of recognition from Belmont County officials. This is incompetence at the highest level," Kelly said.

Kelly said Smith offered to testify against Main last year in exchange for immunity, but said Belmont prosecutors haven't even interviewed them.

Fry said his office wants to "gauge the credibility" of witnesses in the case before taking it to another grand jury.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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