After neighbor is dismembered, suspect hangs self in police van

Published March 26, 1997|Updated Oct. 1, 2005

A woman who feuded with her next-door neighbor over his dilapidated house was found dismembered in the home's basement Tuesday. Her neighbor hanged himself with his belt in a police van.

Police were called to the home of Ann Hoover when she didn't show up at a hearing for Roy Kirk, who was appealing fines for the vacant, condemned row house he owned next to Hoover's home.

When they couldn't find her, a neighbor suggested they look in Kirk's house. They found Kirk, then discovered Hoover's dismembered body in the basement.

Hoover's limbs had been severed and wrapped, apparently for disposal, and her torso was cut across the middle, said coroner Cyril Wecht. She might have been strangled with an extension cord found around her neck, he said.

Kirk was shackled and his hands were cuffed behind his back in the van, yet he still managed to remove his belt, loop it around the grating and hang himself during the 12-minute ride to the police station, said police Cmdr. Ron Freeman.

"Here was a man that was bent on taking his own life," Freeman said.

When he was brought out of the house, Kirk was barefoot and filthy, said neighbor Ruth Liptak.

"He kept screaming, "Just kill me now, just get it over with,' " Liptak said.

Hoover, 44, a piano teacher, and Kirk had been feuding since last summer, said neighbor Maria Burgwin. Kirk was renovating the house and Hoover believed the work was causing her roof to leak, Burgwin said.

A city official said Kirk had $8,000 in fines levied against him for debris inside and outside the house and for removing the roof. The building was condemned and the city planned to demolish it, said Dom Cimino, chief of the city's Bureau of Building Inspection.

During a court hearing two weeks ago, Kirk had invited Hoover to come look at the repairs. Hoover told the judge she didn't want to go into the house alone with Kirk, said Burgwin.

"I still don't believe it. I might wake up," said the victim's father, Thomas Hoover, who sobbed as he stood outside his daughter's house in a working-class neighborhood near the University of Pittsburgh.

"It's been one fine by the city after another until it adds up to what we have today _ two lives gone, one that was worthwhile in my mind, the other I'm not sure."