Stepson accused of murdering stepfather, stepdaughter accused of helping to cover it up

[anvplayer video=”5051433″ station=”998131″]

PARMA, N.Y. (WHEC) — Two stepchildren of a man gone missing in May Friday were indicted for his death and incineration.

This story starts in the spring when a man named William “Billy” Mason disappeared from his home in Parma. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said it knew immediately something was wrong.

Friday Mason’s stepson, Lance Mitchel was charged with murder and, along with his sister, Dawn Mitchel. They’re accused of burning Mason’s body to cover it up.

There is still no official cause of death for Billy Mason and no one will tell me how they think he was killed, but fragments of his bones and metal plates from old surgeries were found in the fire pit behind where he and his stepdaughter lived.

Friday the prosecutor said the fire burned so hot it was like a cremation.

The family members of Mason were in a courtroom in downtown Rochester this afternoon to watch Mason’s stepson and stepdaughter face their charges.

Lance Mitchel:

  • Murder
  • Tampering with evidence
  • Concealing a corpse

Dawn Mitchel:

  • Tampering and concealing

Brean: “How did William ‘Billy’ Mason die? What killed him?”

Assistant District Attorney Sara Van Strydonck: “So, I’m not going to comment on that. I’m not going to comment on anything that’s not contained in the indictment.”

Brean: “I think our viewers are curious as to how he was killed though. That’s not something you can answer?”

Van Strydonck: “I’m not going to comment on that at this time. I will say it was through the tenacious efforts of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Investigators that his body was even discovered in the first place.”

The Mitchels were arrested Friday morning at a family home on Trimmer Road.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office used its SWAT unit to do it.

Teo Siguenza is Dawn Mitchel’s lawyer. Dawn Mitchel is in jail on $150,000 bail.

Siguenza: “I don’t think there will be proof that links her to this. And I think if there was the government would have told the court.”

Frank Ciardi is the lawyer for Lance Mitchel. Lance Mitchell is in jail on an order of no bail and no release.

Ciardi: “He is clearly grieving. This is his stepdad. It’s someone he knew, someone who helped raise him. So yeah, he’s grieving but he maintains his innocence throughout this. To say sorry for anything I don’t think is just.”

I’ve spoken to a lot of people who knew Mason and his stepchildren. They have some idea about what motivated his death but motive is not something the prosecutor would talk about today.