Crime

‘He pissed me off,’ man charged with murder tells police

Richard S. Smalley was shot and killed Friday at 227 Whitman Avenue, according to police. His nephew, Ardell Matthew Gross, has been charged with murder in connection to his death.
Richard S. Smalley was shot and killed Friday at 227 Whitman Avenue, according to police. His nephew, Ardell Matthew Gross, has been charged with murder in connection to his death. psheehan@centredaily.com

When police first arrived at 227 Whitman Avenue, Richard S. Smalley was still alive.

According to court documents, Ardell Matthew Gross called 911 after he shot his 60-year-old uncle at 3:33 p.m. Friday. Gross told police what he had done and said he still had the gun in his hand, but he believed Smalley was dead.

He was wrong.

Spring Township police Officer Ronald Schall was the first person on the scene, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Gross was on the porch, still talking to the 911 dispatcher, when Schall arrived.

The gun was in the living room. So was Smalley. Schall said he was still alive and called for an ambulance. By the time EMS arrived, Smalley was dead.

What sparked Friday’s incident was the death Thursday of Richard E. Smalley, 86, at the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home.

He was the younger Smalley’s father and Gross’s grandfather, an Army veteran who served as a corporal in the Korean War. The house where Gross lived and where Richard S. Smalley died belonged to him.

That was the conflict, according to Detective Dale Moore. He interviewed Gross as he sat on the porch.

“He pissed me off,” Gross allegedly said of his uncle.

Richard S. Smalley came to the house Friday to talk about selling it. That was the place Gross had called home for 10 years, Moore wrote.

Gross did list the house as his address when he was arrested for DUI in 2009 in Mifflin County.

Gross told Moore he was very close to his grandfather, who “counted on him for everything.”

“I went to the bedroom and got my gun,” Gross allegedly said.

Richard S. Smalley went outside to smoke. When he came back, “that is when all hell broke lose,” the affidavit said.

“(He) basically said he was going to take it all and basically take me down, so I blasted him,” Gross allegedly told police.

His uncle was 6 or 7 feet away when it happened. When police asked if his uncle had done anything to make him afraid, Gross said he wouldn’t leave, and that there was no struggle.

The first shot went in his uncle’s leg, he told police. When he fell, the second shot went to his head.

“I can only take what I can take,” Gross told Moore.

Gross was arrested Friday and charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of third-degree murder and one count of aggravated assault, all felonies. He is being held without bail at the Centre County Correctional Facility.

Police confirmed the name of the deceased on Saturday.

Memorial services for both Smalleys will be held Saturday at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Pleasant Gap. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions for the younger man be made to the Penns Valley Little League, while the elder Smalley be honored with donations to the Bellefonte VFW.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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