Case Update: South Carolina Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder in State College Cold Case

February 1, 2023 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG — Acting Attorney General Michelle Henry today announced that Christopher Kowalski of South Carolina has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Jean Tuggy, 60, who was shot in her Pine Grove Mills home on January 21, 2016.

“Jean’s family and friends have sought justice for the better part of a decade now,” said Acting AG Henry. “Thanks to the hard work of the investigators, prosecutors, and law enforcement partners who never gave up on this case, we were able to bring Christopher Kowalski to justice. I hope today’s sentence brings some measure of peace to the Tuggy family.”

Jean Tuggy was found deceased in her home,  just over seven years ago, after being shot two times with a 9mm pistol. After an initial investigation by local law enforcement, the case went cold. Five years later, as part of an effort to solve unsolved murder cases, the Attorney General’s Office partnered with local law enforcement to review the case. Agents identified Tuggy’s former coworker at Wegmans grocery store, Christopher Kowalski, 36, as a potential suspect.

Investigators learned that Jean Tuggy had developed a friendship with Kowalski and he became romantically interested in her. Investigators also learned that, at the time of the murder, Kowalski owned a 9mm pistol, which he later sold. The pistol was tracked to its new owner, who turned over the weapon to police. Examination of the weapon revealed that it had many of the same traits as the murder weapon.

Following the murder, Kowalski moved to South Carolina. When he was located and interviewed by OAG agents, Kowalski admitted to the murder. He was arrested and extradited to Pennsylvania for prosecution.

The matter was investigated by OAG Special Agent Chris Weaver, and Detective Caleb Clouse of the Ferguson Township Police Department. This case was prosecuted by  Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Schulte and former Senior Deputy Attorney General Kelly Sekula.

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