2008-11-20 / Front Page

Hearing Set For Accused Murderer

Shooting victim Karen Gerholt has local ties
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

A Mount Union, Huntingdon County, man accused of gunning down his wife and mother of his children in the parking lot of the Bedford McDonald's Sunday, November 9, was tentatively scheduled to appear in court this week for a preliminary hearing.

Faced with multiple charges of criminal homicide; voluntary and involuntary manslaughter; simple and aggravated assault; recklessly endangering another person; and terrorist threats, John Lewis Gerholt Sr. currently remains lodged in the Bedford County Prison without bail in connection with the death of Karen Marie (Lemin) Gerholt.

John Gerholt also reportedly faces a weapons charge for violating a protection-from-abuse (PFA) order, which stipulated the 38-yearold was not to possess a firearm. His preliminary hearing was set for Wednesday, November 19, at 9 a.m.

John Gerholt was found kneeling over the woman's body shortly after 3 p.m. by Pennsylvania State Police Bedford troopers responding to calls of multiple shots fired in the fast food restaurant's parking lot along Route 30. John Gerholt, police elaborated, had also utilized his shirt to cover the body of his 24-year-old estranged wife.

The couple had been married for approximately six years, and Karen Gerholt had recently taken up residence at 663 Sandy Run Road, Hopewell. Only weeks earlier she had filed a PFA against John Gerholt, who is the father of two of her three young children.

Karen Gerholt was shot near her vehicle where she had reportedly been observed by eyewitnesses "crouching down" in an attempt to hide from her husband carrying a shotgun. At least one spent shell casing fired from a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun was found adjacent to her body.

Karen Gerholt was pronounced dead at the scene by Bedford County Coroner Sam Gordon at 4:22 p.m., and an autopsy was performed the following day at Conemaugh Health Systems. Karen Gerholt, a native of the Hopewell area, was employed at the McDonald's in Bedford Square. In addition to being survived by her sons, Damon and Dalton, and daughter Kensley, Karen is also survived by a local grandparent, Mavion Moffat of Wells Tannery.

The alleged November 9 incident involving John Gerholt Sr. is not the first scrape with law enforcement officials for the Huntingdon County man. On October 31, an indirect criminal contempt complaint was filed through the Court of Common Pleas in Bedford County by his estranged wife, and Gerholt was found in contempt only days later on November 4.

Gerholt was also found in contempt of another court order on August 28, 2006, in Huntingdon County. In addition, he entered a plea of "nolo contendere" in Huntingdon County to violating a court order on August 18, 2006.

A total of five criminal incidents falling between 1992 and 2006 in Huntingdon County involving Gerholt stem from multiple charges of driving under the influence as well as propulsion of missiles onto roadways and resisting arrest. In nearby Mifflin County, charges of simple assault and harassment were logged in 1994 by state police in Lewistown against Gerholt.

Karen Gerholt's funeral service was held Friday, November 14, in Broad Top City followed by burial at Grandview Cemetery, Saxton. Her obituary can be found on page B3 of the "News."

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