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Category: Armstrong County Court House

Kittanning Township Man Sentenced to Long-Term Imprisonment

Todd Johnson could spend the rest of his life in jail for the killing of Derrike Roppolo last year. (Armstrong County Jail File Photo)

A Kittanning Township juvenile could spend life in prison after shooting and killing a Leechburg man in February 2015 .

Yesterday morning, Todd Johnson – who celebrated his 18th birthday less than a month ago – was sentenced to serve between 31 years and life in The State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill in Cumberland County for the murder of 18-year-old Derrike “Bubble Gum” Roppolo of Leechburg last year.

Armstrong County Judge James Panchik made the final sentencing about two months after Johnson was found guilty of criminal homicide.

Last year, District Attorney Scott Andreassi said the Commonwealth’s investigation determined that Todd has a drug and alcohol issue, has a valid driver’s license and visited a Basin Drive apartment February 10 with another juvenile with the intent to rob the occupants of marijuana.

Johnson was tried as an adult.

According to the criminal complaint, Todd fired one round into Roppolo’s chest as well as pointing a weapon at another person. Roppolo died of the gunshot wound at Allegheny Valley Hospital.

Johnson is not eligible for the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive (RRRI) program to reduce his minimum sentence and was also sentenced to serve at least three years after previously being found guilty of felony robbery. That sentence will run consecutive to the murder imprisonment.

Johnson is credited with 141 days of time served in prison and must also perform 100 hours of community service, pay restitution and fines and undergo evaluation at ARC Manor.

Todd was previously also incarcerated in Westmoreland County Regional Youth Services Center in Greensburg on $500,000 bond

Johnson, who was previously enrolled as a junior in the Lenape Tech welding program and took Armstrong School District cyber classes, was also charged with misdemeanor possession of a firearm, terroristic threats and another felony robbery charge, but those charges were not processed.

Court Proceedings Scheduled for Jail Escapee

Robert Crissman, Jr.

by Jonathan Weaver

The trial of the Templeton man who escaped from the Armstrong County Jail in late-July and allegedly killed a family friend shortly after will be held this Summer in Kittanning.

According to County President Judge Kenneth Valasek, prosecutors and defense attorneys met yesterday morning in his chambers to schedule upcoming court dates related to the case against Robert Crissman, Jr.

District Attorney Scott Andreassi and Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Charlton will lead the prosecution.

“Right now, the Court has set the trial for May. Jury selection will be Monday, May 9 and we will start the trial as soon as a jury is selected,” Andreassi said.

Andreassi explained that several questions will be asked of possible jury members that day.

“What we’re trying to determine is if they’re going to be fair and impartial,” Andreassi said.

Since Crissman’s escape about 6:30AM July 30, he said prosecutors have received laboratory results and provided those also to Public Defenders Chuck Pascal and Preston Younkins – who will represent Crissman.

Pascal said defense attorneys will be prepared for the future court proceedings.

Andreassi, a member of the County Prison Board, added that he thought new security upgrades to the Rayburn Township jail, as well as updated policies and procedures, have proven “effective” since their implementation. He hoped the new warden – who might be selected by Prison Board members at least by the February 11 public meeting – would continue those steps forward.

Charlton and other county detectives recommended nearly a dozen immediate steps and other long-term suggestions at the Armstrong County Jail following Crissman’s July 30 escape and subsequent killing.

All pretrial motions have to be submitted no later than 55 days prior to jury selection, or March 22

Crissman – charged with criminal homicide for Long’s death, the theft of Long’s maroon Chevrolet Silverado, aggravated assault for injuring State Police Trooper James Karlo’s hand during attempted capture Friday morning, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and escape –is currently being housed in the Butler County Jail without bond.