- Grove City, Pennsylvania

March 20, 2013

Abbott facing 35 to 80 years

Enters surprise plea in deaths of parents

By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
Allied News

BRADY TOWNSHIP — The New Jersey man charged with murdering his father and stepmother in 2011 at their Brady Township home was sentenced Wednesday to 35 to 80 years in prison.

Colin Abbott, 42, of Randolph, who at first claimed Kenneth Abbott, 65, and Celeste Abbott, 55, died in a fiery car crash, entered a surprise no contest plea to third-degree murder on Tuesday in Butler County Court of Common Pleas.

Authorities contend Colin Abbott dismembered and burned the bodies then scattered the remains on the family property at 571 W. Liberty Road in June 2011.

He told relatives they were burned beyond recognition in a crash.

Prosecutors said Kenneth Abbott's multi-million-dollar estate drove the killings.

Colin Abbott cried as his attorney told the court he regrets "what he has put his family through."

According to Allied News files:

Abbott contacted relatives on June 11 and said his parents died in a car crash near Plant City, N.J., and their bodies were burned beyond recognition.

Mrs. Abbott's daughter, Melissa Elich, became concerned when Abbott dodged her questions about getting a death certificate for insurance purposes.

She called state police in New Jersey for more details about the crash and was told there had been no such accident.

New Jersey State Police asked Pennsylvania State Police on July 13 to conduct a welfare check at the Abbotts' home, which sits on 25 acres and includes two ponds and several out-buildings.

No one answered the door so police continued to search the rest of the property and soon discovered what appeared to be charred human remains, later identified as Kenneth and Celeste Abbott.

Abbott was arrested July 14 and investigators believe he killed his parents between June 5 and 7. A bullet and two wedding bands later verified as the Abbotts' jewelry were also found at the crime scene.

A gag order was imposed on the case Aug. 25, 2011, because of its high profile nature.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Published March 2, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.