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Thugs "strangle man, dress up his body and drive him around in hat and sunglasses"

Joshua Rose
Joshua Rose
Tyler Mirabelli
Tyler Mirabelli
Amanda Wayda
Amanda Wayda
Preston Layfield
Preston Layfield

A Pennsylvania trio faces charges in the death of a man police believe suffered from a possible heroin overdose – but he was allegedly strangled somewhere between his home and the remote, wooded area where police discovered his body.

State police are accusing the two men and one woman of placing a plastic bag over 21-year-old Joshua Rose’s head and strangling him with jumper cables while driving him out of town.

Police recovered Rose’s body on Monday after he had been missing for five days. This week, they arrested Preston Layfield, 19, Tyler Mirabelli, 22, and Amanda Wayda, 20, and charged them with aggravated assault and conspiracy.

WYOU reports that the suspects could face more serious, homicide-related charges once once the medical examiner determines the official cause of death. Investigators are treating the case as a suspicious death rather than a homicide, pending further results.

“The individual was probably having some sort of significant medical problem,” said State Police Cpl Mark Prushinski, “and for whatever reason their thought process was, it appears as though he was strangled.”

As to why the three suspects did not drive Rose to the hospital, police remain unsure.

According to the arrest documents, Ms Wayda had called police and reported witnessing a murder. She said that Rose had visited her boyfriend’s house – unnamed in the police report – when she noticed him sleeping. When she went to check on him she reportedly thought he appeared to be overdosing.

She told police she then called Mr Mirabelli to come to the house and drive him to the hospital, the Times-Tribune reported.

Rose was placed in the passenger seat of the truck and Ms Wayda sat between him and the driver, Mr Mirabelli. Mr Layfield, who was at the house with Ms Wayda, sat in the bed of the truck behind Rose.

Ms Wayda told police that Layfield began strangling Rose with jumper cables and killing him. Ms Wayda said she knew Rose was alive prior to the alleged strangling because she “saw him breathing”.

Mr Layfield admitted to strangling Rose in a 29 August confession to police. He accused Ms Wayda of placing a plastic bag over Rose’s head, then handing him the jumper cables and encouraging the strangling.

After Rose died, Mr Mirabelli stopped at a gas station, when somebody put a hat and sunglasses on the corpse, according to Ms Wayda’s statement to police.

Police were able to locate Rose’s body after interviewing the suspects.

They are being held on $700,000 bail and await a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.