Drug Pipe May Be Tied To Bucks Strangling Police Say The Victim And His Son Argued In Their Fairless Hills Home.

Posted: February 25, 1997

FALLS — The argument that led to the strangulation death of a Fairless Hills landscaper at the hands of his 19-year-old son may have been triggered by the father's having found a drug pipe in the home earlier in the day, authorities said.

Police Chief Arnie Conoline said yesterday that George Liebel, 57, telephoned police at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, asking for their help with his son John. Conoline said an officer talked with Liebel.

``He didn't file any complaint but was just looking for advice,'' Conoline said. Conoline said the officer advised Liebel to seek family counseling but told him if his son got out of hand to call police.

Four hours later, John Liebel strangled his father, police said. Bucks County District Attorney Alan Rubenstein said he was shown the plastic pipe, known as a bong and generally used to smoke marijuana, at the house, and he said, ``It may well have been what the two had argued about.''

Liebel, the father of six, had been engaged in a dispute with John, the details of which remain unclear. Three weeks ago, he told John he no longer wanted him to work in the family landscaping business.

It was shortly after 1:30 p.m. Saturday, police said, when Liebel and his son got into an argument in the den of their home and John Liebel choked his father from behind until he became unconscious. He then wrapped a camera strap tightly around his neck and knotted it, Rubenstein said.

John Liebel fled the home but later surrendered, admitting he had killed his father, police said. He is being held on a charge of first-degree murder in Bucks County Prison with bail set at $1 million cash.

Rubenstein said yesterday he would not seek the death penalty because there were no aggravating circumstances.

A Funeral Mass for Liebel will be said at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, Fairless Hills, with burial following in Resurrection Cemetery, Bensalem.

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