The accused slayer of Charles Van Pelt '54 goes on trial for murder today in Cloudersport, Pa. Alfred Salade, the indicted, shot the 19 year old to death and wounded one of his companions. Van Pelt, on vacation at the time, was taking a Labor Day hike and camping trip.
Salade, who runs the Cherry Springs Airport at a nearby state park of that name, told authorities he shot at the two in front of an airport building because he believed they were thieves who had ransacked the place a week before.
Salade reportedly was always on the lookout for thieves and "suspicious" of all night strangers. He shot the unsuspecting vacationers without asking who they were, seriously wounding one of Van Pelt's companions.
Presiding Judge Walter P. Wellshjas called a panel of 90, from which a jury will be chosen. The accused is being defended by a state senator appointed by the court. Salade is also charged with assault with intent to murder and aggravated assault and battery.
Salade is a World War II Army flight instructor, married, and father of three. He lives east of Cloudersport.
Erwin Bergdoll, a University of Pennsylvania student, was with Van Pelt at the time of his death. He is the son of Grover Cleveland Bergdoll, scion of a former Philadelphia brewing family.