Eugene Talik Jr Sentenced to Life in West Virginia Federal Murder Trial

Started by Jeff1857, January 06, 2008, 10:10:14 PM

previous topic - next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Go Down


January 06, 2008, 10:10:14 PM Last Edit: May 06, 2008, 07:10:41 PM by Jeff1857
WHEELING, W.Va. -- Eugene Talik Jr., a barrel-chested truck driver charged with the murder of his mistress, will go on trial for his life Jan. 15.

Capital cases are rare in West Virginia, one of 13 states without the death penalty. But because Mr. Talik is being prosecuted by the federal government, he could be executed if he is convicted.

Mr. Talik, 39, of Aleppo in suburban Pittsburgh, sat silently Friday as his lawyers and prosecutors discussed the final details of jury selection with U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp.

Mr. Talik, a married man with three children, had a history of infidelity, according to investigators. Prosecutors say his last affair ended with him killing his 28-year-old lover, Kelly Jo Elliott of Valley Grove, W.Va.

His motive, they say, was to silence her, so she could never tell his wife about the affair.

Prosecutors say Mr. Talik hired an employee of his moving-van business to commit the murder. But when the hired killer decided he could not go through it, prosecutors say, Mr. Talik raped Ms. Elliott and then strangled her himself.

Ms. Elliott, the mother of two small boys, died May 25, 2006. Her remains were found in Elk County, Pa., in late fall, after John Deutsch, who says he was Mr. Talik's hired killer, agreed to testify against his former friend.

Mr. Deutsch said they lured Ms. Elliott to Dallas Pike, east of Wheeling, for the sole purpose of taking her life. He said he struck Ms. Elliott with a pipe, but then stopped himself from hurting her more.

By his account, Mr. Talik then attacked Ms. Elliott. After killing her, the government says, Mr. Talik returned to his family for a getaway over Memorial Day weekend.

Mr. Deutsch, 31, of Freedom, Pa., has already pleaded guilty to being "an accessory after the fact." He hopes to receive a 15-year prison sentence in exchange for his testimony against Mr. Talik.

Had prosecutors charged Mr. Deutsch with direct invovlement in Ms. Elliott's killing, he could have spent the rest of his life in prison.

He will be one of about 30 witnesses against Mr. Talik, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McWilliams said during the conference with Judge Stamp. Prosecutors expect to spend a week putting on their case.

Mr. McWilliams said they may play taped interviews with Mr. Talik for the jury. In the days after Ms. Elliott disappeared, Mr. Talik professed his innocence. He even went to her parents' home to inquire as to her whereabouts, investigators said.

Lawyers will select a jury of 12 and as many as four alternates from a final pool of 64 West Virginians. Defense lawyers and prosecutors will choose the 64 from a group of hundreds of possible jurors who answered written questions about themselves and their feelings on capital punishment.

Each side will be able to dismiss up to 20 prospective jurors when questioning of the final 64 begins. Mr. McWilliams said Judge Stamp may handle all the questioning himself. By keeping the lawyers on the sidelines, the judge could speed up jury selection.

Mr. Talik is being represented by lawyers from Wheeling and Baltimore. They said they could not discuss the case, but their defense likely will focus on trying to impeach Mr. Deutsch.

He has admitted being "strung out on drugs" at the time of the killing. He also said he owed Mr. Talik money.

Mr. Deutsch, through his lawyer, said he is sorry for his role in Ms. Elliott's murder. But, he said, it was Mr. Talik who actually killed her.


WHEELING, W.Va. -- In a rare move on a federal holiday, the federal court in Wheeling opened for a special hearing in the case against a man accused of killing a mother in Ohio County.

Around 11 a.m. Eugene Talik, the man charged with murder in the death of Kelly Jo Elliott, struck a deal with the prosecution.

The agreement said Talik, of Sewickley, Pa, would plead guilty to one count of interstate domestic violence resulting in death. As a result of the guilty plea, all the other charges against Talik would be dropped.

The judge did not immediately accept the guilty plea. He decided to wait until the sentencing day. Talik could get 33 years to life in prison, but ultimately the judge has discretion in setting the sentence. Talik was originally facing the death penalty.

Elliott's remains were found in Pennsylvania in November 2006. The Ohio County mother went missing on May 25, 2006.

Investigators said Talik and Elliott were having a relationship. Investigators said Elliott was going to tell Talik's wife about their relationship, which they believe was his motive to kill her.

Investigators said the killing happened in the parking lot at the lower truck stop in Dallas Pike. They believe an accomplice and Talik arranged to meet Elliott there the night she went missing, with their plan in place.

"Through the debriefing of the accomplice, he indicated that she was struck over the head. It was determined that she was still breathing, and it's alleged now that the defendant strangled her, causing her death," said Ohio County prosecutor Scott Smith in a previous interview.

Authorities said her body was then transported in multiple vehicles including her own, which is still missing.

Her body was taken to a wooded, rural area a few days later in Clearfield County, Pa., where her remains were discovered by the FBI and a local college anthropology team.

Investigators said the accomplice led them to her remains. That accomplice was later identified as John Deutsch, 30, of Freedom, Pa. He has since pleaded guilty to one felony count of accessory to murder after the fact.


An Aleppo Township man escaped a federal death penalty Monday by pleading guilty to killing his mistress in 2006.

Eugene Talik Jr., 39, pleaded guilty to a single count of traveling in interstate commerce to commit the act of killing Kelly Jo Elliott, 28, of Valley Grove, W.Va. Under the agreement, Talik faces a minimum of 33 years and nine months in federal prison, though federal prosecutors said they will seek a life sentence.

Talik had been scheduled to go on trial today in federal court in Wheeling, W.Va. The plea was carried out despite the fact that federal court was closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday.

Talik, a married man with three children, had been dating Elliott, who threatened to reveal the affair to Talik's wife, according to authorities.

On May 25, 2006, prosecutors said, Talik and John Deutsch, 31, of New Sewickley Township, met Elliott at a rest area along Interstate 70 near Wheeling. There, Deutsch hit Elliott, the mother of two young children, in the head with a pipe.

Deutsch told prosecutors that when he refused to finish Elliott off, Talik strangled her to death.

The two men then took Elliott's body to New Sewickley, where it lay at the Deutsch family homestead for a few days. Talik and Deutsch later took it to Clearfield County, where they burned and buried her remains.

Deutsch had already cut a deal with prosecutors and was expected to testify against Talik. In exchange for his plea to a single count of being an accessory after the fact for Elliott's killing, Deutsch, of 1130 Hillman St., faces up to 15 years in federal prison. He hasn't been sentenced yet.

Prosecutors said Deutsch had worked for Talik's moving company and owed $2,000 for cocaine that Talik had supplied him. Talik promised Deutsch $200 and cocaine if Deutsch would kill Elliott, prosecutors said previously.

In a news release issued by the U.S. attorney's office in Wheeling, U.S. Attorney Sharon Potter said, "We received word that Mr. Talik had expressed a willingness to plead guilty, and we contacted (Elliott's) family and discussed the options with them. Mr. Talik's admission of guilt was very important to the family. Mr. Talik stated in open court today in the presence of the victim's family that he pleaded guilty to causing Kelly Jo's death because he did, in fact, do it."

Potter added that the plea is binding, meaning Talik can't back out of the deal.

A date hasn't been set for Talik's sentencing.


Related Case

WHEELING, W.Va. -- A Pennsylvania man involved in the 2006 death of a 28-year-old mother of two has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

John Deutsch, 31, of Freedom, Pa., was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Wheeling after pleading guilty last February to being an accessory to murder after the fact.

According to court documents, Eugene Talik Jr., 39, of Aleppo in suburban Pittsburgh, agreed to forgive Mr. Deutsch's $2,000 cocaine debt if Mr. Deutsch would kill Mr. Talik's girlfriend, Kelly Jo Elliott.

The documents indicate that Mr. Deutsch hit the Valley Grove woman with a lead pipe but was unable to finish the job, so Mr. Talik strangled her.

Ms. Elliott's body was burned and buried. The remains were found in a shallow grave in Clearfield County, Pa., in November 2006, six months after Ms. Elliott was reported missing.

Mr. Talik is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last month to a federal charge of traveling from Pennsylvania to West Virginia with the intent to kill. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped the death penalty as a possible sentence.


WHEELING --  In Federal Court in Wheeling today it was a packed courtroom for the Eugene Talik sentencing.

Talik plead guilty to Interstate Domestic Violence resulting in death.

Karen Talik, Eugene's wife and the mother of his three children, was in the courtroom today.

She said she believes it was his co-defendant John Deutsch who came up with the idea and carried it out.

Deutsch told his version of what happened before everyone in the courtroom today..

She says her husband was apparently unfaithful, but he is not a murderer and he only plead guilty to avoid the death penalty.

Through it all, she called her husband a good man and so did their oldest son, Eugene the third.

The Judge sentenced Talik to life in prison.

Go Up