Suspect In Deaths Of Wife, 2 Daughters Is Arrested

The brother of a man accused of sexually molesting his two daughters was ordered held without bail on murder charges today in the Christmas Eve shooting deaths of the daughters and their mother, but said he was only driving the getaway car.

Scott Wholaver, 28, of St. Benedict, told police that he drove his older brother, Ernest Wholaver, nearly halfway across the state from Cambria County in western Pennsylvania to the house in Middletown, near Harrisburg, where Jean Wholaver, 43, and her daughters lived, according to a police affidavit.

Scott Wholaver said he stayed in the car while Ernest went toward the house, and that his brother was shaking excitedly when he returned five or ten minutes later, the affidavit said.

Following his arraignment, Scott Wholaver was taken to Dauphin County Prison in Harrisburg, where his brother had been held since last night.

Police have described Ernest Wholaver, 42, as a suspect in the deaths of his wife and daughters, but had not charged him with that, crime by the time his brother was arraigned Friday afternoon.

Ernest Wholaver had been free on $100,000 bail pending trial on charges that he sexually molested his daughters — 15-year-old Elizabeth and 20-year-old Victoria. His bail was revoked and he was arrested near Altoona on Thursday night because authorities were concerned that he would attempt flee before his sexual assault trial scheduled for later this month, according to a published report.

Documents detailing the sexual abuse charges say the sisters were afraid to come forward because they feared he would harm them.

Ernest Wholaver denied committing the killings, sources told The Patriot-News in Harrisburg.

District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr., Dauphin County Prison Warden Dominick L. DeRose and Connie Miller of Miller Bail Bonds, which posted Wholaver’s ball in the sexual abuse case, did not immediately return telephone calls Friday.

The three women each suffered a single gunshot wound to the head, apparently on Christmas Eve, according to the Dauphin County coroner. They were found Christmas morning at their home in Middletown, 15 miles southeast of Harrisburg.

Victoria Wholaver’s 9-month-old daughter was found unharmed at the home and now is staying with her father.

Ernest Wholaver’s attorney, Spero T. Lappas, said Wholaver, who has lived in the Johnstown area since he was ordered to stay away from his daughters and the family’s Middletown home as a condition of his bail, is “absolutely not” a flight risk.

“He has faithfully appeared at every single court proceeding he has been required to attend, and there is no reason to believe he would not continue to do so,” Lappas said.

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