Four charged in kidnap-murder case





Please note: This is a currently evolving story. Please read the March 29 edition of the Susquehanna County Independent for the full story. 

Four men have been charged in the September 2022 kidnapping and beating death of 28-year-old Tyler Barber. The murder happened on Rose Hollow Rd., Great Bend Twp.

Blaze Corter, Daniel Williams, Matthew Baker and John Sullivan all face homicide, kidnapping, conspiracy and a slew of other related charges.

Investigators detailed the events that led up to Barber’s death that led to the charges in the affidavit of probable cause filed in New Milford District Court.

Barber’s remains were discovered by a hunter on Nov. 28, past the end of Rose Hollow Road and down an embankment. A positive identification was made by the Mercyhurst University Forensic Anthropology Lab in December.

According to the affidavit, Barber was reported missing on Sept. 13, 2022, and police were requested to meet with a family member at the State Game Lands on Rose Hollow Rd. – the last known reported location of Barber on Sept. 2, 2022, as told to family members by Baker.

Baker revealed the location, as well as details surrounding Barber’s disappearance.

According to the affidavit, Baker told police that Barber was with Corter, Williams and Sullivan at a home on Elm St., Susquehanna, late Sept. 1, 2022 into early the following day. They were “very upset” with Barber and suspected him of being a “snitch.”

In an interview with police, Williams said Allen “Paint Chip” Westbook had seen Barber talking with state troopers, prior to his friend being pulled over by police and subsequently arrested.

“At one point, a confrontation between Corter and Barber occurred, resulting in Corter stating to Barber that he had five seconds to run, and that Barber did not run. Barber was then forced into a vehicle by Corter,” reads the affidavit.

The five men traveled to the State Game Lands, with Williams as the driver and Baker and Corter seated in the back on both sides of Barber.

During the trip, Corter told Barber that “He’d get information out of him whether he likes it or not.”

Corter destroyed Barber’s cell phone and threw it out the car window.

According to the affidavit, one they arrived at the locked gate for Rose Hollow Rd., Barber was blindfolded, brought around the gate and walked up the road. He was restrained by rope against a tree.

Corter, Williams, Baker and Sullivan all took part in assaulting Barber, pummeling him with closed fists. Barber’s clothing was removed while the others checked to see if he had any valuables. His clothes were then burned in a pile in the middle of the road.

During the assault, Barber told the men that he had money at the Elm Street residence. Baker and Sullivan remained with Barber while Corter and Williams went back to the home to look for the money.

Corter and Williams returned – bringing Nikolas Petrich with them. Petrich was carrying a metal baseball bat. According to the affidavit, Corter and Petrich struck Barber with the bat. According to police, a warrant has also been issued for Petrich. Details of that warrant are not yet known. 

Petrich told police he became angry with Barber when Corter and Williams said Barber was a “rat.” He admitted to striking Barber in the face, while Barber apologized to him.

When asked about the baseball bat, Petrich told police, “I have a lot of bats.”

The men cut Barber’s restraints and left him lying on the road – returning to the Elm Street home without Barber.

In a Sept. 14, 2022 interview with police, Corter corroborative the majority of the statements made by Baker, Sullivan and Williams. When asked by police who would be responsible if Barber was found dead, Corter replied, “To be honest with you, it would be all four of us.”

As state police led the accused one-by-one from the Gibson barracks on Wednesday, Baker said, “I just wish it didn’t happen.”

Sullivan exclaimed, “I was kidnapped and forced to do s—!”

Williams kept his head down, covering his face with paper, but had no comment. Corter also made no comment.

All four men were arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Jodi Cordner and are being held without bail. 

1 Comment on "Four charged in kidnap-murder case"

  1. Michael Daniel Berol | March 23, 2023 at 6:34 am | Reply

    Kidnapping, murder! Sounds like multiple FIRST degree crimes. Wish we had a death penalty with which to charge them properly.

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