HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A 50-year-old Three Springs man is in jail after state police say a McDonald’s receipt, cigarette butt and a palm print put him at the scene of a severe beating last year in Huntingdon County.
Kevin Releford was arrested Monday and charged with felony and misdemeanor assault charges in the Oct. 23 beating that left a Shirley Township man unconscious with ‘multiple facial fractures and a traumatic brain injury concussion,” according to the charges filed in Mount Union District Court.
The two men were coworkers, state police would later learn, but in the days after the incident, investigators only had a description of a man in a dark-colored SUV given by the beating victim’s mother and several pieces of evidence found at the scene to go on.
A swab of suspected tobacco spit, white cigarette butt, a brown cigarette butt and a McDonald’s receipt were among the items found in the carport where the man was assaulted, state police noted.
The receipt was from the Mount Union McDonald’s the day before, Oct. 22, 2020 at 12:34 p.m. A check of the restaurant’s surveillance video showed a man in a black Chevrolet Tahoe getting an order at the drive-thru at that time and although the entire license plate wasn’t readable, police could see the first three letters were LJT.
When state police talked to multiple coworkers of the assault victim on Oct. 25, 2020, they were told the description of the SUV matched one driven by another employee – Kevin Releford.
Releford was questioned by state police at his Three Springs home later that same day and when troopers arrived, they saw his black Chevrolet Tahoe’s license plate was LJT-1110, according to the charges.
Releford is 6’3” tall and muscular, which fit the description given by the beating victim’s mother who told state police the man who came to the door to talk to her son was about 6’ tall and muscular. She also told state police the man stuttered and had a raspy voice, so state police noticed that Releford also had a raspy voice when he spoke.
Releford told state police he got home from work at about 7:30 p.m. and stayed in all night. Releford said he hadn’t heard what happened to the beating victim, only that he got hurt at work, and he also denied knowing where he lives and said they were coworkers, but Releford didn’t associate with him outside of work, state police pointed out in the charges.
Releford also denied he was at the Mount Union McDonald’s on Oct. 22, until state police showed him a photo of his SUV in the drive-thru that day.
“Oh, I forgot, I went there for lunch,” Releford then said, according to the charges.
When asked why the receipt was found at the assault victim’s house if he had never been there before, Releford denied he was at the house and then said it wasn’t his receipt.
“To be honest, I don’t care for the guy, he’s a piece of [expletive deleted], ” Releford allegedly told state police.
State police got a search warrant for mouth swabs and to take photographs of any cuts, markings or bruises on Releford’s body and on Oct. 27, 2020, troopers collected DNA from Releford and took photos of his hands.
In November, investigators received a report from the state police lab in Harrisburg that a latent palm print belonging to Releford was lifted from the crime scene.
State police then learned in August that DNA from one of the cigarette butts collected at the scene matched the DNA taken from Releford’s mouth swab.
Last week, state police spoke to the assault victim who told them it was Releford who came to his house and asked his mother to wake him up that night., When he walked outside to the carport to talk to Releford, started hitting him but he didn’t remember what happened after that.
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Releford was placed in Huntingdon County Jail after his arraignment Monday afternoon, with bail set at $50,000 cash. A preliminary hearing is slated for Oct. 6.
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