Nine-Year-Old Pennsylvania Girl, Skylar Kauffman, Found Dead; Neighbor, James Lee Troutman, Charged with her murder / TROUTMAN PLEADS ‘NOT GUILTY’ / Trial set for Jan 2012

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Normal Nine-Year-Old Pennsylvania Girl, Skylar Kauffman, Found Dead; Neighbor, James Lee Troutman, Charged with her murder / TROUTMAN PLEADS ‘NOT GUILTY’ / Trial set for Jan 2012

Post by lisette on Tue May 10, 2011 9:09 pm

SOUDERTON, Pa. -- A 24-year-old man faces charges of murder, sexual assault and kidnapping in the death of a 9-year-old girl who disappeared while playing outside in a small, quiet Philadelphia suburb.

James Lee Troutman is charged in the killing of Skylar Kauffman, who would have turned 10 next month. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman announced the charges at a news conference in Souderton on Tuesday.

Police say Kauffman didn't come home for dinner Monday after playing with her friends in her apartment complex's parking lot. State police issued an Amber Alert, and her body was discovered a few hours later in a nearby trash bin.

The crime happened in Souderton, a borough about 30 miles north of Philadelphia that is surrounded by farm fields and newer upscale housing developments.

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Normal Re: Nine-Year-Old Pennsylvania Girl, Skylar Kauffman, Found Dead; Neighbor, James Lee Troutman, Charged with her murder / TROUTMAN PLEADS ‘NOT GUILTY’ / Trial set for Jan 2012

Post by Wrapitup on Tue May 10, 2011 10:18 pm

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Skyler was last seen at 5:30 p.m. Monday playing in the parking lot of the apartment complex. Police say her parents became concerned when she didn't show up for dinner.

Authorities from across the county mobilized for the search and an Amber Alert was issued.

Eventually, they found a blood trail in the basement of her home that ran cold.

Then, around midnight, authorities discovered her body wrapped in a blanket and buried in the dumpster several hundred feet away from her apartment.

It would be several hours later when police announce charges against 24-year-old James Lee Troutman.

Troutman, who also lives in Souderton Gardens, was taken into custody. Investigators say he choked the child to death in a basement and sexually assaulted her.

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"This is one of those terribly disturbing situations where something happens seemingly out of nowhere," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

Police say they found blood on Troutman's shoes and clothes, evidence the 9-year-old fought to the end.

Troutman, wearing a bulletproof vest, covered his face as he entered the courthouse Tuesday afternoon.

Police had to tape off the area outside the courthouse, a street away from the apartment complex, for security reasons due to angry onlookers.

A Montgomery County district judge denied bond for Troutman.

Court documents say Troutman admitted to choking the girl and hitting her head against the floor a couple of times.

According to the affidavit, Troutman has stated that inside the basement of the apartment complex, he "snapped" and told investigators "I got rid of her."

The D.A. says Troutman doesn't have a criminal record, but there were signs he preyed on little girls.

Action News has learned police were called to the apartment complex just two weeks ago because of an incident involving the suspect and Skyler.

"It appears to us that she and another child were inside his apartment and they may have been locked inside; they were able to get out of that situation," Ferman said.

Skyler would have been 10 years old next month.

Family friend Stewart J. Foland II says he's known Skyler since she was a baby.

"What should be done to this guy? You honestly don't want my answer," Foland said. "She's a gem, there's not a word to condemn her. She was an angel. She's going to be taken care of, that's all I can tell you, and it shouldn't have happened."

Meanwhile, the neighborhood is reeling.

"I try to understand, how do they do this to a little girl? She was only nine," said neighbor Tammy Taynys.

Skyler was enrolled as a third grade student at E. Merton Crouthamel Elementary school in Souderton. Counselors and school psychologists are on hand at the school to assist students and staff as they mourn Skyler's death.

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Does this EVER end?? angry

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Normal Skyler Kauffman remembered at prayer vigil

Post by Wrapitup on Tue May 10, 2011 10:22 pm

SOUDERTON — Around sundown on Monday evening, 9-year-old Skyler Kauffman was playing in a playground in Souderton.

One day later, about a hundred of her friends and fellow community members gathered just blocks away to remember Skyler.

“Today was a really hard day, because everybody was crying and everybody was feeling sad about Skyler and what happened,” said Josiah Blair, one of Skyler’s third-grade classmates at Souderton’s E. Merton Crouthamel Elementary School.

Josiah attended a prayer vigil hosted by Grace Bible Church Tuesday evening, where church pastor and Josiah’s father Jason Blair tried to help the community through one of its darkest days.

“We believe that there’s no man or no woman who can really fill the gap that something like this leaves, so we’re just reaching out to God and asking Him for support and for comfort,” said Jason.

Skyler and Josiah sat across from each other in their third-grade class at EMC, and would talk to each other almost every day outside of school, Jason said.

“Skyler’s family actually gave me a call today and thanked us, and I asked if there was anything we could pray for to help them,” said Jason.

“They asked for prayers for comfort, strength, and justice to be done, and we trust that our authorities, with our prayers, will do the job they’re well equipped to do,” he said.

Shock and sympathy were also expressed by dozens of readers online at TheReporterOnline.com when news of Skyler’s death broke.

Reader lansdaleresident33 posted online that “Skylar was a sweet girl. My daughter became close friends with her the past three years at Hopwood Day Camp in Towamencin and have been dancing together for three years at Marlyn Abramson’s school of dance.”

“Skylar had been looking forward to next week’s big dance recital and now that has been stolen. How do you tell your nine year old daughter that her friend was murdered?” lansdaleresident33 said.

Maryln Abramson, owner of the Lansdale dance studio and three others in the area, said Skyler danced there for at least five years and the two had a lengthy conversation about her dance future last weekend.

“We loved her. She was just a darling, very vivacious little girl, and she was starting to become a beautiful little dancer,” said Abramson.

Abramson added that her four studios will each dedicate their next performance to Skyler’s memory, and that the Lansdale studio’s show will leave her space in each routine vacant.

“We’re going to leave all of the spaces that she was taken up empty. We’re not filling it, we’re just going to leave her red shoes as empty holes,” she said.

That performance will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School in Whitemarsh Township.

AreaReader commented online: “Since something similar happened in my extended family, please do remember that the family and friends of the little girl may be reading the news coverage and reader comments.”

“The family is in complete shock, and expressions of support and concern and prayers for them are always appropriate, while speculation about the event or over-the-top expressions of anger toward the murderer may be less helpful,” AreaReader said.

The young age of the victim struck many readers, including reader sugardaisy123: “At nine, we do usually start to give our children a little freedom, such as playing in a nearby park with friends. Tragically, there was a monster lurking in this neighborhood.”

On Facebook, reader Heather Anderson posted that she “just started giving my eight year old a little more freedom, although I was reluctant to do so. This makes me think twice. It’s so hard to know what to do.“

Reader Keith Klaumenzer passed on his parenting advice: “Stick to them like glue. One lousy second is all it takes. I don’t like my daughter anywhere by herself.”

And reader Tanya Bamford said Skyler’s death was “a horrible reminder that this type of thing can happen anywhere. Keep your children close. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.“

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Normal TROUTMAN PLEADS ‘NOT GUILTY’ IN SKLER KAUFMAN MURDER CASE

Post by Nama on Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:01 pm

His eyes cast downward, the Souderton man accused of raping and killing a 9-year-old girl who was his neighbor showed little emotion as his alleged crimes were addressed in court.

James Lee Troutman, 24, through his lawyer, Wm. Craig Penglase, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday during an arraignment hearing in Montgomery County Court to charges of first- and second-degree murder, rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment and abuse of a corpse in connection with the May 9 death of Skyler Rae Kauffman.

Troutman and Kauffman were neighbors at the Souderton Garden Apartments at Second and Chestnut streets.

Judge William R. Carpenter set Troutman’s trial date for Jan. 9, 2012.

Troutman, his hair appearing much shorter and sparse than at the time of his arrest, did not respond to a reporter’s questions as he was escorted from the courtroom under heavy guard by county sheriff’s deputies for the trip to jail where he will remain without bail pending his trial. Troutman’s lawyer previously claimed Troutman had pulled hair out of his head after his arrest.

Friends and relatives of Kauffman, including her mother, Heather Gebhard, and her father, Eric, packed the courtroom for the hearing. Some of the spectators were overcome by emotion and had to be consoled by other friends or relatives as prosecutors recited the specific crimes allegedly committed by Troutman.

“We’re all here for Skyler. Obviously, this is the process through which we are seeking justice for Skyler and members of her family were here to see the court proceeding, to let us know, to let the defendant know, that they are there,” District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said after the hearing.

Ferman and Deputy District Attorney Thomas W. McGoldrick informed the judge prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Troutman in the event he is convicted of first-degree murder, which is an intentional killing.

In order to seek the death penalty, prosecutors must show that aggravating factors, things that make a killing more heinous, existed at the time of the murder.

“We only pursue the death penalty in cases where the facts are of such egregiousness and the history of the case is so serious that we think it is warranted. So to file notice of our intent to seek the death penalty is in itself a very serious statement about the nature of the crime,” Ferman said. “We do that very rarely. We only do that in those extreme cases where we believe it is warranted.”

“In our review of the evidence in this case there were three very significant aggravating factors that we sought to pursue,” Ferman added.

The aggravating factors against Troutman, according to court papers, include: the victim was a child under 12 years old; Troutman committed the killing while in the perpetration of other alleged crimes, namely sexual assault, kidnapping and false imprisonment; and that Troutman killed Kauffman to prevent her from testifying against him.



Penglase, of Doylestown, indicated he was not surprised by Ferman’s notice to seek the death penalty.

“Mr. Troutman understands what those charges are, understands that his life is on the line in this case. I expect this case to proceed to trial in January as planned,” Penglase said.Penglase, hinting at potential defense strategies, said, “mental health will be an issue in this case.”

“Mr. Troutman has engaged in various forms of mental health treatment throughout his lifetime and that will become public once the trial begins,” said Penglase, indicating he has retained mental health professionals to evaluate Troutman during the pretrial period.

Penglase previously said Troutman reported suffering from autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

Kauffman, authorities alleged, went missing while she was playing in the courtyard of the apartment complex where Troutman also lived around dinnertime on May 9. Minutes before midnight Souderton police found Kauffman’s body wrapped in a comforter under bags of trash in a Dumpster behind the apartments.

An autopsy determined Kauffman died of asphyxia and blunt force trauma, according to court papers.

Police found both blood and a clog that was similar to one Kauffman had been described as wearing in the basement area of one of the apartment buildings, according to court papers.

While interviewing neighbors of the girl, authorities noticed what appeared to be blood on one of Troutman’s sneakers, according to authorities. When detectives searched Troutman’s apartment, where he lived with his fiancee, they found bloody clothes, according to a criminal complaint.

Later asked by detectives why he killed the little girl, Troutman allegedly said he had to because once he took her down to the basement he knew she could get him in trouble, according to arrest documents.

As you all know, by now I’ve become a pretty hardened individual when it comes to the stories that we publish here at PYSIH. I rarely, if ever, have an emotional reaction to the suffering of the victims, nor does my anger rise to the level it used to when I first took over the helm of this website.

I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. It seems like a natural reaction to constantly working with tales of child rape, murder and abuse perpetrated by neglectful, selfish parents or caregivers, and deviant predators attempting to satisfy their twisted sexual desires. I’d call it pure self defense – I think a person in my position must either grow a thick skin or eventually I will find myself at the bottom of a massive depression.

But this case has been different. It’s gotten to me, and done it in a big way. Part of it is defense attorney Wm. Craig Penglase’s attempt to blame this entire incident on the fact that Mr. Troutman has either autism or Asperger’s syndrome, and the associated stigma that strategy will cast on legitimate sufferers of these conditions.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, the main feature of both conditions is an inability to interact socially with other people. Depending of the severity of a person’s disease, symptoms can range from shyness or awkwardness in a group all the way to complete withdrawal from reality and rejection of any form of touching or affection.

Well James Lee Troutman managed to find himself a fiancee, Heather Clemens, and the way Heather tells it, James was quite the romantic social cripple:

“He was wonderful to me, and he was the kind of guy where you could ask him to do anything for you and he would.”

Poor, poor James.

The thing is, I know people who have autistic children, and the last thing they need is an undeserved reputation for violence or uncontrollable sexual urges. These kids have enough problems just living their daily lives. And as far as I’ve been able to discover through my research, there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE that people who suffer from either autism or Asperger’s syndrome are prone to any sort of violent behavior at all.

I was also very much affected by the pain of Skyler Kaufman’s father, Eric Kaufman. During the arraignment of James Lee Troutman, Mr. Kaufman was inconsolable. According to Matt Coughlin of PhillyBurbs.com:

As prosecutors read aloud the charge of rape of a child causing serious bodily injury, Skyler’s father, Eric Kauffman, began sobbing uncontrollably and his own father embraced him as they sat two rows back in the courtroom gallery. Later, as Troutman was escorted out of the courtroom by a half-dozen deputies, Eric Kauffman’s father and an unidentified man both embraced and restrained Eric Kauffman. The other man could be seen saying, “You’re a better man than that.”

I can see myself reacting the exact same way, which may explain the huge amount of empathy I have for Mr. Kaufman. Whatever the case, there is no doubt in my mind that Eric Kaufman loved his daughter Skyler with all his heart, and that his heart was shattered by the sick, depraved actions of James Lee Troutman.

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Normal Re: Nine-Year-Old Pennsylvania Girl, Skylar Kauffman, Found Dead; Neighbor, James Lee Troutman, Charged with her murder / TROUTMAN PLEADS ‘NOT GUILTY’ / Trial set for Jan 2012

Post by Nama on Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:03 pm


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Normal Pleads not guilty

Post by Nama on Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:06 pm

July 2011

His eyes cast downward, the Souderton man accused of raping and killing a 9-year-old girl who was his neighbor showed little emotion as his alleged crimes were addressed in court.

James Lee Troutman, 24, through his lawyer, Wm. Craig Penglase, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday during an arraignment hearing in Montgomery County Court to charges of first- and second-degree murder, rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment and abuse of a corpse in connection with the May 9 death of Skyler Rae Kauffman.

Troutman and Kauffman were neighbors at the Souderton Garden Apartments at Second and Chestnut streets.

Judge William R. Carpenter set Troutman’s trial date for Jan. 9, 2012.

Troutman, his hair appearing much shorter and sparse than at the time of his arrest, did not respond to a reporter’s questions as he was escorted from the courtroom under heavy guard by county sheriff’s deputies for the trip to jail where he will remain without bail pending his trial. Troutman’s lawyer previously claimed Troutman had pulled hair out of his head after his arrest.

Friends and relatives of Kauffman, including her mother, Heather Gebhard, and her father, Eric, packed the courtroom for the hearing. Some of the spectators were overcome by emotion and had to be consoled by other friends or relatives as prosecutors recited the specific crimes allegedly committed by Troutman.

“We’re all here for Skyler. Obviously, this is the process through which we are seeking justice for Skyler and members of her family were here to see the court proceeding, to let us know, to let the defendant know, that they are there,” District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said after the hearing.

Ferman and Deputy District Attorney Thomas W. McGoldrick informed the judge prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Troutman in the event he is convicted of first-degree murder, which is an intentional killing.

In order to seek the death penalty, prosecutors must show that aggravating factors, things that make a killing more heinous, existed at the time of the murder.

“We only pursue the death penalty in cases where the facts are of such egregiousness and the history of the case is so serious that we think it is warranted. So to file notice of our intent to seek the death penalty is in itself a very serious statement about the nature of the crime,” Ferman said. “We do that very rarely. We only do that in those extreme cases where we believe it is warranted.”

“In our review of the evidence in this case there were three very significant aggravating factors that we sought to pursue,” Ferman added.

The aggravating factors against Troutman, according to court papers, include: the victim was a child under 12 years old; Troutman committed the killing while in the perpetration of other alleged crimes, namely sexual assault, kidnapping and false imprisonment; and that Troutman killed Kauffman to prevent her from testifying against him.

Penglase, of Doylestown, indicated he was not surprised by Ferman’s notice to seek the death penalty.

“Mr. Troutman understands what those charges are, understands that his life is on the line in this case. I expect this case to proceed to trial in January as planned,” Penglase said.

Penglase, hinting at potential defense strategies, said, “mental health will be an issue in this case.”

“Mr. Troutman has engaged in various forms of mental health treatment throughout his lifetime and that will become public once the trial begins,” said Penglase, indicating he has retained mental health professionals to evaluate Troutman during the pretrial period.

Penglase previously said Troutman reported suffering from autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

Kauffman, authorities alleged, went missing while she was playing in the courtyard of the apartment complex where Troutman also lived around dinnertime on May 9. Minutes before midnight Souderton police found Kauffman’s body wrapped in a comforter under bags of trash in a Dumpster behind the apartments.

An autopsy determined Kauffman died of asphyxia and blunt force trauma, according to court papers.

Police found both blood and a clog that was similar to one Kauffman had been described as wearing in the basement area of one of the apartment buildings, according to court papers.

While interviewing neighbors of the girl, authorities noticed what appeared to be blood on one of Troutman’s sneakers, according to authorities. When detectives searched Troutman’s apartment, where he lived with his fiancée, they found bloody clothes, according to a criminal complaint.

Later asked by detectives why he killed the little girl, Troutman allegedly said he had to because once he took her down to the basement he knew she could get him in trouble, according to arrest documents.

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Normal Re: Nine-Year-Old Pennsylvania Girl, Skylar Kauffman, Found Dead; Neighbor, James Lee Troutman, Charged with her murder / TROUTMAN PLEADS ‘NOT GUILTY’ / Trial set for Jan 2012

Post by raine1953 on Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:23 am

OMG. Mental problems or not, this creep needs to be locked up for the rest of his life, at the least.
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Normal Accused child killer wants statements suppressed/ Trial set for Jan 2012

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:21 am

The man accused of killing 9-year-old Skyler Kauffman was repeatedly questioned and allegedly confessed during more than 13 hours of interrogation, according to his attorney, who wants those statements suppressed.
James Lee Troutman, 24, allegedly made several incriminating statements that his attorney, Craig Penglase, is asking the court to keep out of Troutman’s upcoming trial. Troutman is accused of kidnapping, raping and then killing Skyler on May 9 in the basement of the Souderton Gardens Apartment complex where they both lived. Penglase raises two issues in his motion, that the length of the interrogation was inherently coercive and that Troutman’s Miranda warning was not properly handled.
“I am surprised — by the type of case it is and the type of officers these are, these are some of the best officers in Montgomery County — that they interrogated this guy for half a day,” Penglase said.
Penglase filed the motion to suppress, along with others, at the Montgomery County Courthouse on Tuesday morning. A suppression hearing on those motions is scheduled for Oct. 28 before Common Pleas Judge William Carpenter.
District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said she has not seen the pretrial motions yet, but the commonwealth would file its responses in court. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the brutal killing, which horrified the community.
Skyler was playing in the parking lot of the Souderton Garden Apartments with other children and missed dinner at home about 6 p.m. that Monday. Shortly before midnight police found Skyler’s body in a trash bin at the rear of the complex. Troutman was taken to police headquarters for questioning after a county detective spotted him walking through the complex with blood on his sneakers, according to the criminal complaint against him. The coroner later ruled Skyler was molested and then choked to death while her head was slammed against the concrete basement.
In the motion to suppress, Penglase said that starting about 12:01 a.m. May 10, Montgomery County and Souderton investigators drove Troutman to the Souderton police station and began questioning him. They interrogated Troutman without reading a Miranda warning to him, according to the motion. Penglase said from 12:01 to 12:40 a.m. Montgomery County Detective Christopher Kuklentz and Souderton Detective Joseph Rudner asked Troutman about Skyler’s disappearance, during which time Troutman made incriminating statements. According to the motion, Kuklentz and Rudner continued interrogating Troutman from 1:24 a.m. to 1:46 a.m. and again from 1:47 a.m. to 2:48 a.m. Penglase said that second session was not included in the detectives’ interview record.
Penglase said throughout this questioning Troutman did not believe he was able to leave the police department and had not been advised of his rights. About 2:41 a.m., Troutman signed a form acknowledging his constitutional rights, according to the motion. Troutman was questioned again from 2:48 a.m. to 3:10 a.m. and from 5:39 a.m. to 5:59 a.m., according to the motion to suppress. Penglase said the questioning continued, on and off, until about 1:26 p.m., 13 hours and 25 minutes after it began.
“If you interrogate me for 13-and-a-half hours, I’ll admit to killing her,” Penglase said. “I think the duration of the interrogation was inherently coercive. I’m not alleging police beat a confession out of him. But for him not to be Mirandized is certainly unusual.”
In 2004, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that “voluntary statements by an accused, given more than six hours after arrest when the accused has not been arraigned, are no longer inadmissible per se.” The court advised judges to consider the circumstances surrounding an interrogation before ruling whether a statement is admissible in court, including the duration and means of interrogation, the defendant’s physical and psychological state and several other factors.
Penglase said during Troutman’s arraignment in July that his client has been treated for mental health problems since he was 5 years old. He said Troutman was diagnosed as a juvenile with Asperger’s syndrome, which makes normal social interaction difficult. He attended special education classes in the North Penn and Souderton Area school districts.
Penglase said for someone with Troutman’s condition, the resistance to questioning that normal people would have disappears. Defense experts have said for months that Troutman’s mental health is a key issue in the case.
Troutman entered a not guilty plea earlier this year. A jury trial is scheduled for January.

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Normal Re: Nine-Year-Old Pennsylvania Girl, Skylar Kauffman, Found Dead; Neighbor, James Lee Troutman, Charged with her murder / TROUTMAN PLEADS ‘NOT GUILTY’ / Trial set for Jan 2012

Post by lisette on Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:17 pm

James Troutman Pleads Guilty In Skyler Kauffman Murder
March 19, 2012

NORRISTOWN (CBS) – Twenty-four-year-old James Troutman of Souderton entered a guilty plea in Montgomery County court to a charge of first-degree murder in the death last spring of nine-year-old Skyler Kauffman.

With jury selection set to begin in this case in about two months, the Montgomery County prosecutor’s office offered to take the death penalty off the table, in exchange for a first-degree murder guilty plea, which he entered Monday morning.

He was then sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

He also pled guilty to involuntary sexual intercourse along with kidnapping and abuse of a corpse, which added another 10-20 years to that life sentence.

He testified that he lured her to the basement of their garden apartment complex in Souderton, last spring. He sexually assaulted her and then killed her, beat and strangled her and then dumped the body.

Troutman was arrested last May in connection with the murder of the youngster after a detective saw what appeared to be blood on his shoes.

Under questioning by police, Troutman admitted he choked Skyler to death in the basement of an apartment building at Second and Chestnut streets.

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