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Guns and sneakers were seized from a man accused of killing a pregnant Amish woman, police say

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Police investigating the killing a pregnant Amish woman in rural Pennsylvania seized six guns, a variety of ammunition and a pair of sneakers that may match tread marks left at the crime scene during searches of the suspect's home and vehicle, documents show.

Search warrant documents released over the weekend said 23-year-old Rebekah Byler suffered “multiple sharp force wounds” to her neck and was shot in the head during the Feb. 26 attack at her home.

Two counts of homicide and other charges against truck driver Shawn Christopher Cranston were forwarded to county court for trial after a preliminary hearing on March 15.

In a newly released search warrant affidavit, a state trooper said Rebekah Byler’s 2-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son were present during the killing and the boy told investigators a man wearing sneakers had killed his mother.

Rebekah Byler’s husband, Andy Byler, and a woman who had been driving him and another man to look at roofing jobs returned to the Byler home around lunchtime to discover her body in the living room. The children were unharmed.

During the preliminary hearing, Trooper Shea Sedler testified that red and black Nike sneakers were found under a mattress inside a camper at Cranston's residence in Corry. Sedler said the shoe pattern was similar to what he photographed inside Rebekah Byler's home.

Police also took DNA and fingerprints from Cranston, who has been jailed without bail since his March 2 arrest.

Cranston’s public defender, Gary Alan Kern, has not returned messages seeking comment. At the preliminary hearing, Kern argued prosecutors had not identified a motive or produced a murder weapon.

Tire treads from Cranston's Jeep appeared to match tire impressions collected from muddy ground at the crime scene, police said.

A camera on a business across the street from Cranston's home recorded someone fitting his description carrying items to the camper and starting a fire in the hours after Rebekah Byler was killed, police said. Detectives said they hoped to remove “burn pile remnants” from Cranston's home.

Along with two counts of homicide, Cranston, 52, also faces burglary and trespassing charges.

Police wrote that they were zeroing in on Cranston within a day of Byler's killing and soon seized his trash, where they found a glove that resembled a piece of glove found at the homicide scene.

Neighbors in Corry told police that Cranston's nickname is “Rumble” and he has been the sergeant-at-arms for a motorcycle club in Erie. One neighbor said Cranston usually carried a small, black pistol.

Andy Byler told police that about two weeks before his wife was killed, a man matching Cranston's general description showed up at their home after 9 p.m. and inquired about buying the house, according to an affidavit.

Police said people who live several miles from the Byler home told them they had odd experiences since early December with a driver named Shawn whose phone number led investigators to Cranston. They told them Shawn, dressed in all black and with a small, black pistol in a belt holder, parked a Jeep in their driveway.

He “was walking around their property looking aimlessly into their fields and his speech made no sense,” Trooper Samuel Hubbard wrote two days after Cranston's arrest. They said “Shawn” was about 50 years old, tall and heavy-set with gray hair.

“He was inquiring as to when and where they attend church and that he wished to go with them," Hubbard wrote.