Crime

Details before Cantolina’s death reveal what he knew and when: Snow Shoe murder trial

Matthew Dreibelbis leaves the Centre County Courthouse after the first day of his trial on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018.  Dreibelbis was found guilty of killing Jeremy Cantolina in Snow Shoe in August 2017.
Matthew Dreibelbis leaves the Centre County Courthouse after the first day of his trial on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Dreibelbis was found guilty of killing Jeremy Cantolina in Snow Shoe in August 2017. adrey@centredaily.com

A Howard man and Snow Shoe woman exchanged thousands of text messages over about a month last year, and some of those messages targeted the woman’s husband, according to testimony Tuesday from a State College police detective.

On the second day of Matthew Dreibelbis’ trial, State College police Detective John Aston testified that Dreibelbis and Amber Cantolina either sent or received more than 9,400 text messages and about 4,400 images between July 2017 and Aug. 11, 2017 — the day Dreibelbis is accused of shooting and killing Jeremy Cantolina.

Aston — who was accepted as an expert in cellphone forensic extraction — testified he narrowed it down to 240 images and 110 text messages for further review.

“A lot” of the images were sexually explicit and came from the extraction of Dreibelbis’ TracFone. Three text messages Dreibelbis sent to Amber Cantolina on July 13, 2017, said, “I think I just need to come shoot him,” “I going to kill him,” and “He gone a get it soon.”

Forensic pathologist Harry Kamerow also testified and was deemed to be an expert in forensic medicine. He testified Jeremy Cantolina’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death was a homicide.

Kamerow also testified about the X-rays he took of Cantolina during his autopsy, which showed the bullet that was fired from a .38-caliber revolver.

District Attorney Bernie Cantorna and Assistant District Attorney Crystal Hundt previously said the revolver belonged to Dreibelbis’ adopted uncle, Harold Hoy Jr., who testified he did not give Dreibelbis permission to use that revolver that was supposed to be locked away.

Prior to Hoy’s testimony, criminal investigation assessment officer Dana Martini testified police would not have known where to look for the revolver after the shooting if it were not for Dreibelbis telling them “exactly where to go” and that he fired two of the six rounds in the revolver.

While much of the testimony through the first two days focused on the aftermath of Cantolina’s death, Amber Cantolina’s testimony offered an insight on what has been called a “long-term extramarital affair.”

The 31-year-old testified she married Jeremy in 2007 and her sexual relationship with Dreibelbis began in 2014. She eventually separated from Jeremy while they were married and moved in with Dreibelbis, along with her children, but testified that didn’t work out because “he was sleeping with other people.”

During that same time, she conceived a child with Dreibelbis before moving back in with Jeremy.

Eventually, one of her co-workers at Brother’s Pizza drove to the Cantolina’s residence to show Jeremy the sexually explicit text messages and images. Then, a few weeks prior to his death, Jeremy messaged Amber and told her he was aware of her relationship with Dreibelbis.

She testified she responded by asking him if he wanted a divorce, but he said he would like to stay with her and she needed to stop because he still loved and cared for her.

Amber then went to Dreibelbis and “blew up” about what happened and said she was “done” with him. He responded by making specific threats, including telling her she was going to “wake up one morning to find her husband dead in the driveway.”

When Jeremy was ultimately found dead in the driveway, Amber testified she didn’t know what happened until she spoke with state police at Rockview criminal investigator Jeffrey Ebeck.

“I thought his hip had gone out or his blood pressure caused something medical,” Amber testified. “The trooper suggested there may have been an assault because he had a black and blue eye.”

Cantorna said he expects to deliver closing arguments alongside Dreibelbis’ attorney Karen Muir on Wednesday before the jury begins their deliberations.

Matthew Dreibelbis leaves the Centre County Courthouse after the first day of his trial on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Dreibelbis allegedly shot and killed Jeremy Cantolina on Aug. 11, 2017

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