by Julie Shaw, inquirer.com
A Delaware County man has been charged with abuse of corpse and obstructing justice in connection with the April discovery of the body of a Drexel Hill musician, who police said was fatally shot in a Philadelphia building owned by the Warlocks Motorcycle Club and whose body was found inside a crypt at the closed Mount Moriah Cemetery.
Buck Evans, 46, of Drexel Hill, was arrested last week, according to court documents obtained Monday. Evans is accused of rolling up Keith Palumbo’s body in a carpet, destroying blood evidence on his own clothes, and helping to dispose of Palumbo’s car.
Evans has been in custody since the end of February at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Delaware County on an unrelated matter. His attorney, Daniel O’Riordan, said Monday that he had only just started investigating the case and that his client looked forward to defending himself in court.
Two other people, Billy Gibson, 47, of Drexel Hill, and Donna Morelli, 48, of Southwest Philadelphia, previously were charged with abuse of corpse and related offenses in connection with the disposal of Palumbo’s body.
Michael DeLuca, 38, an alleged Warlocks member, previously of Drexel Hill, is suspected of fatally shooting Palumbo, 36, inside DeLuca’s Southwest Philadelphia apartment on Feb. 6. He is accused of then ordering Evans and Gibson to roll the body up in the bloodstained carpet in the apartment and getting Morelli’s pickup truck to transport the body to the cemetery, across from Morelli’s home. DeLuca, Gibson, and Morelli are accused of throwing Palumbo’s body inside the crypt.
Palumbo’s body was one of two corpses found in the crypt in April under suspicious circumstances. Philadelphia police Homicide Capt. Jason Smith has said the body of a second man is believed to be that of David Rossillo Jr. of Drexel Hill. But he said Monday that it will take months for DNA test results to confirm that. No one has been charged in connection with the second man’s death, the cause of which remains undetermined.
Philadelphia police have issued an arrest warrant for DeLuca on charges of murder, conspiracy, abuse of corpse, and related offenses in Palumbo’s death. He is expected to be extradited to Philadelphia after facing a September trial in Wyoming, following his April arrest on an unrelated gun-possession charge.
According to the affidavit of probable cause for Evans’ arrest, Evans told Philadelphia police that on Feb. 6, he and Gibson were with Palumbo in Palumbo’s mother’s silver Subaru when Palumbo got a call from DeLuca telling him to come to DeLuca’s apartment.
After the three men arrived at the apartment on the 7000 block of Woodland Avenue, DeLuca pulled out a handgun and pointed it at Palumbo, then shot Palumbo once in the face, the affidavit says. Evans said he was close enough that he was splattered with blood. The documents did not say why DeLuca allegedly killed Palumbo.
Evans told police that all four men were associated with the Warlocks. The building where DeLuca lived is owned by Warlocks MC LLC, and its mailing address is that of Morelli’s Southwest Philadelphia home.
Morelli, who until recently was a member of the nonprofit board formed to preserve the cemetery, told police that when DeLuca came to her house in early February, he told her he had killed Palumbo and needed help disposing the body, according to documents in her arrest.
She told police that she, DeLuca, and Gibson threw Palumbo’s body in a crypt in the cemetery, the documents say.
Evans told police that when he arrived at Morelli’s home that February day, he was told to remove his clothes, which Morelli then burned. He said he then went with DeLuca and Gibson to dispose of Palumbo’s mother’s Subaru in Kensington.
Morelli posted bail after her May arrest. She could not be reached for comment and her attorney has declined to comment on the case. Gibson remains in custody at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia. The Defender Association of Philadelphia, listed as representing him, has declined to comment.