Three Men Charged in NY Deputy's July 4th Killing

Officer was Shot 15 Times, Run Over

By Justin Walden, (Binghampton, N.Y.) Press & Sun-Bulletin

Ed. Note: This is a follow up to a story first published July 5, reporting the murder of Deputy Tarsia. Click here to read the story.

TOWN OF CHENANGO, N.Y. -- Three men were arrested Saturday in connection with Thursday's shooting death of Broome County sheriff's Deputy Kevin J. Tarsia.

Jeffrey A. Nabinger Jr. and David Sweat, both 22, were charged with first-degree murder, a felony. Shawn J. Devaul, 23, was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony.

Nabinger and Sweat shot Tarsia 15 times around 4 a.m., Broome Sheriff David E. Harder said. Devaul was "a non-active participant in the murder" as he watched the shooting armed with a gun, Harder said.

Tarsia, 36, was shot, then run over by a car in Grange Hall Park in Kirkwood, Harder said. The men stole several items from Tarsia's patrol car, including the deputy's .40-caliber Glock handgun, police said.

Harder would not discuss details of the confrontation between Tarsia and his assailants, nor would he say which weapons were used in the shooting. Harder said it was still unclear whether Tarsia's gun had been fired.

Sweat lives on Foley Road in Kirkwood, while Devaul and Nabinger do not have permanent addresses. The three men were arrested Saturday without struggle, officials said.

Nabinger was apprehended as he walked down a street in Port Dickinson. Sweat was stopped while driving in Kirkwood and Devaul was taken into custody in the Village of Greene, Harder said.

Officials also said Saturday that Nabinger, Sweat and Devaul were responsible for the burglary of Mess's Fireworks in Great Bend, Pa.

They likely will be charged in Pennsylvania once the paperwork stemming from their arrests in New York gets sorted out, Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. William Strong said.

The investigation took 60 hours, with some members of the sheriff's department going more than 50 hours without sleep. More than 100 officers from around 15 police agencies played a role in the investigation, officials said.

"When the puzzle is completed, this is what you have ... arrests made in the case," Harder said at a 7:30 p.m. news conference. "We're very sad for the loss of our brother Kevin Tarsia."

Officials said solid police work and good communication was key in solving the crime.

"There's nothing more serious than the murder of a police officer," state police Troop C Maj. William Foley said. "This is another example of what we can do when we join resources like this."

Police developed information that led them to Nabinger, Sweat and Devaul from a source who learned about the shooting, Harder said. The sheriff declined to elaborate on who contacted police or what information that person provided.

Nabinger, Sweat and Devaul sat in silence as they were arraigned Saturday night before Town of Kirkwood Justice Benjamin Weingartner.

All three asked for court-appointed attorneys. Sweat and Devaul both said they are unemployed.

The three were sent to county jail without bail.

Police said Friday that they wanted to question a man in his late 20s who was seen in Mess's several days before the burglary. However, authorities haven't found him and said Saturday that they believe he didn't have anything to do with the burglary or Tarsia's death.

According to Press & Sun-Bulletin reports, Nabinger and Sweat were charged in a 1997 burglary after authorities said they entered a Town of Dickinson home and took jewelry and cash.

Nabinger, then 17 and living in Binghamton, pleaded guilty in that case and a second, in which he was accused of breaking several windows of a pickup truck. He was sentenced to five years of intensive supervision probation.

Sweat also made news in 1996, when he and another 16-year-old were charged with attempted second-degree burglary. The pair had elaborate plans to burglarize a youth group home in Binghamton.

Sweat, then a Binghamton resident, and the other teen were both sentenced to five years of intensive supervision probation. At their sentencing, Broome County Judge Martin E. Smith called them "teen-aged idiots."

Shawn Devaul also made news as a teen-ager. According to Press & Sun-Bulletin reports, he was a passenger during a 1997 car accident in which a 14-year-old Chenango Forks girl was killed.

Devaul, then 18 and living in Binghamton, was hospitalized with head and lung injuries after the accident.

Staff Writer Rachel Coker contributed to this report.

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