Life without parole for Pa. church shooter

| July 21, 2013

COUDERSPORT — A former elementary school teacher was sentenced to life in prison without parole Tuesday in Potter County Court after pleading guilty to first-degree murder charges last week.

Gregory Lynn Eldred, 53, of Coudersport, heard the testimony from the friends and family of his ex-wife, Darlene Sitler, whom he fatally shot during Sunday morning worship services at the First United Presbyterian Church. Judge Stephen Minor then formally announced the terms of his plea arrangement.

Sitler was described as a well-loved and highly respected music teacher at the Northern Potter Children’s School during statements made by five people affected by the shooting.

The Rev. Evan Lloyd, who was present at the time of the shooting and attempted to assist Sitler at the scene, spoke first, summing up the anger and heartache that has deeply affected members of her congregation, of which approximately 25 were enjoying Sitler’s organ playing when Eldred entered the sanctuary.

Rev. Lloyd spoke of Sitler’s kindness, telling Eldred, “Darlene never said an unkind word about you,” even after the divorce.

Her brother, Arden Sitler, said, “There was a happiness about everything she did, and she didn’t deserve to die.” Being much older than her, Arden Sitler said, “I never really knew her until the day she died when I encountered the outpouring of admiration and sympathy expressed by you folks in Coudersport and the area.”

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Category: Church Security

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