First degree murder charge added in death of OC woman

An Oil City man accused of killing his girlfriend in March at their Mineral Street home and then putting her body in a barrel is now being charged with first degree murder in addition to the other charges he was already facing in connection with the woman’s death.

The charges against Brandon Wells, 46, were modified last week to include a count of murder of the first degree, which replaced a felony count of criminal homicide that had been previously filed against him.

A felony count of drug delivery resulting in death has also been added to the list of charges against Wells, according to court documents.

Oil City police found the body of Brierlie Walters, 39, in a 55-gallon drum March 5 at the residence Wells and Walters shared at 12 Mineral.

Wells told police he had located Walters on a bed in the residence and placed her body in the drum so her three minor children who lived at the residence would not see her body, police said.

Police detained Wells and checked the residence, where they verified that a dead woman was in a drum in an upstairs bedroom, police said.

The woman appeared to have injuries to her face, arm and upper torso, as well as a “small amount of what is considered to be petechial hemorrhage,” police said.

Wells, who has been lodged in the Venango County jail since his arrest, was held for further court proceedings following a three-hour preliminary hearing May 19 in Venango County Central Court.

Wells waived his arraignment in the Court of Common Pleas in June, and a criminal pre-trial conference in his case was held Friday, according to court documents.

An upcoming step in his case would be jury selection for a potential trial.

In addition to the two new charges, Wells has been charged with felony counts of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver and criminal attempt — manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, three felony counts of endangering the welfare of children, and misdemeanor counts of possession of controlled substances, use/possession of drug paraphernalia and abuse of a corpse.


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