EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The year 2021 has been an eventful one in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.
Eyewitness News has reported on events that include everything from COVID-19 concerns and controversy to an area county once again having issues running its elections. An alleged serial killer was arrested in our area and a state investigation into a Children and Youth Services Agency.
Gunshots ring out on a Plains Township, Luzerne County Street on a snowy February morning, James and Lisa Goy are shot to death in the middle of the street. Investigators say their neighbor, Jeffrey Spaide shot the husband and wife in an argument over the shoveling of snow. Spaide then went into his own home and shot himself.
“It was around 9:30, I heard people yelling and then I heard gunshots and I looked out my window and saw a gunman and I called 9-1-1,” said Michelle, Witness.
In September, Harold David Haulman III, from Michigan, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the bludgeoning deaths of 26-year-old Erica Shultz of Bloomsburg in December of 2020 and Tianna Phillips from Berwick in June of 2018. Prosecutors say he met the women online. He also faces charges in the murder of a 21-year-old Ashley Parlier from western Michigan who disappeared in 2005. Investigators say they are not sure how many other murders Haulman may have committed.
“We found out that back in 1999-2000 he was living in Germany and he had a criminal history there. He killed a young man in almost the exact same way these women were killed,” explained Daniel Zola Deputy District Attorney, Luzerne County.
In July the State Attorney General’s Office filed charges against the former Director of Luzerne County Children and Youth Services, Joanne Van Saun. She pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of children and obstruction. Investigators say she ordered staff members to terminate more than 200 child abuse complaints in May of 2017.
And there were more problems with the election process in Luzerne County.
In the November 2021 General Election, some voters received mail-in ballots with had some of the races listed incorrectly. In the May Primary Election, electronic ballots were mislabeled. All of this follows issues in the November 2020 General Election when nine military ballots were mistakenly thrown into the trash. A federal investigation determined there was no criminal wrongdoing. Luzerne County Officials hired an election consulting firm to help ‘right the ship’ at the election bureau, a process that still continues.
And COVID concerns are once again a top issue in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. The ongoing controversy over mask mandates and as the number of COVID cases rise, many business owners worry about future shutdown orders.
“What is this going to do. How is it going to affect my staff, myself? Are people going to be afraid to come out to eat patronize restaurants with fear of getting COVID even though you’re vaccinated there’s no guarantee,” asked Rosa Belia, Owner, Franco’s Restaurant.
What a year it has been and Eyewitness News looks forward to informing you of everything to come in 2022.