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VanMetre found guiltyGETTYSBURG, Pa. -- James Howard...


VanMetre found guilty

GETTYSBURG, Pa. -- James Howard VanMetre was found guilty of kidnapping and raping a Pennsylvania woman in September.

A jury deliberated for more than two hours to return its verdict in Adams County Common Pleas Court on Friday.

VanMetre, who will be extradited to Carroll County after he is sentenced for the rape and kidnapping, faces first-degree murder charges for the murder of another Pennsylvania woman, Holly Ann Blake, whose body was found in Harney.

VanMetre, 35, had tried to convince the jury that police and prosecutors coerced a confession out of him when he was arrested in Tennessee and charged with the rape and kidnapping of a Reading Township woman.

The woman's testimony -- in which she described her attacker in detail -- was considered crucial in finding him guilty.

The woman -- whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy -- gave graphic testimony at a January preliminary hearing about the night of Sept. 15. She said she was taken from her home and driven to a campground, where her attacker tied her hands.

She said she was raped three times -- once on the hood of her attacker's car -- before she was taken back to her home.

VanMetre has been held on $250,000 bond since his October arrest in the rape case and his indictment on first-degree murder charges in December in Carroll in Ms. Blake's strangulation death.

Ms. Blake's disappearance in September shook Gettysburg an Bonneauville, where she was living. She was last seen alive on Sept. 26 getting into a cream-colored Subaru with Tennessee plates registered to VanMetre, police said.

Blake, 28, the mother of two young girls, apparently had known VanMetre for about a week and probably entered the car willingly, police said.

L Her charred remains were found on a Harney farm last October.

Bryson appears in court


WESTMINSTER -- The man charged with the shooting death of Melrose hardware store owner Charles W. Therit Jr. made a brief appearance in Circuit Court yesterday, so his lawyer could deal with a legal technicality.

Michael C. Bryson, 25, charged with murder, armed robbery and theft in connection with the March 25 killing of Mr. Therit, appeared in court with his attorneys to ensure that all tape-recorded phone conversations between police and informants were preserved.

However, his attorneys acknowledged that the police had not taped most of the conversations.

The State's Attorney's Office has already given all of the tapes it says it knows of to Mr. Bryson's legal team.

L A more extensive motions hearing is scheduled for September.

People in Melrose were stunned by the murder -- the county's only homicide so far this year -- and many speculated that someone from outside the community killed Mr. Therit.

AMr. Bryson's family, like the Therit family, lives in the Melrose area and is well known by other residents in the community.

Mr. Bryson is being held at the Carroll County Detention Centeuntil his trial.

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