ARREST OF TOOLEY DELAYED 5 MONTHS
A MAN WANTED FOR QUESTIONING IN A FATALITY IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP HAS A VIOLENT
By DAVID WEISS firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, November 14, 2002 Page: 1A
WILKES-BARRE - The man wanted for questioning in Friday's shooting death of
16-year-old Casey Zalenski could have been arrested months ago after police
said he sold drugs to an informant.
But a warrant for Larry D. Tooley's arrest on those charges wasn't issued
until Friday, hours after Zalenski was found dead in his Demunds Road home in
Luzerne County First District Attorney Joe Carmody on Wednesday said a
delay in arresting someone on drug charges is regularly done as an
investigative practice, he said.
Officers say an arrest is sometimes delayed to protect an informant.
Arresting a person soon after he sold drugs to an informant could reveal the
informant's identity. Also, even if Tooley, who has a violent criminal record
including a rape conviction, was arrested he might have posted bail and
According to court papers, Tooley sold $150 worth of heroin to a
confidential information in a home on Jenkins Court in Pittston on June 19.
Pittston Police Chief Paul Porfirio declined to comment on the incident.
Zalenski was shot Friday morning after a woman, identified as Tina Young,
the family's former baby sitter, and a male entered the home apparently
seeking money. Young has been charged with burglary in connection with the
incident. Neither Young nor her boyfriend, Tooley, has been charged with the
Zalenski and his 14-year-old brother, Tommey, were home at about 10:20 a.m.
when two people entered the home.
Tommey told police he heard a man tell Casey he wanted money. Tommey then
heard a loud noise before the man threatened to kill Casey, police said.
Tommey fled through an upstairs window before hearing another loud bang,
possibly a gunshot, inside the home, police said.
Luzerne County Coroner Dr. George Hudock Jr. on Wednesday said Zalenski was
shot with a .32- or .38-caliber weapon. Tooley was charged Saturday with
possessing a .38-caliber gun in New Jersey. The charges indicate it was
illegal for Tooley to possess the weapon because he was previously sentenced
under Megan's Law and because he knew the gun was stolen.
The bullets struck Zalenski twice in the head and once in the chest, police
The head wounds killed Zalenski, Hudock said, but any of the shots could
have been fatal. It's unclear how long Zalenski lived after being shot.
``He didn't die instantly,'' Hudock said.
Tooley and Young fled the area and were arrested Saturday in New Jersey on
Tooley's past includes an arrest in 1980 on a robbery charge, court
While he was on bail for that arrest, Tooley was charged with rape,
kidnapping and robbery. He was sentenced to 35 years on those charges, but
eligible for parole in 15 years.
In that case, police said Tooley abducted a 22-year-old secretary in
Paterson, N.J. The woman was forced into a car and taken to an industrial
park, where she was raped and then tied to a railing. A small amount of money
was stolen from her, according to The Record in Bergen County, N.J.
A New Jersey court official said Tooley was likely released from prison in
the mid 1990s and discharged from parole in 2000.
Carmody said Tooley's prior criminal record would have been listed in a
police database, available for local officers to examine, but police did not
inquire about Tooley's background, Carmody said.
Tooley and Young will soon be picked up by local officers and brought back
to Luzerne County, Carmody said. Both are held in a prison in Passaic County,
David Weiss, a Times Leader staff writer, can be reached at 831-7397.