Sale of stolen van leads police to suspects in murder of Willoughby man

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio -- The sale of a stolen van led police to two suspects arrested in the murder of a Willoughby man. 

According to a release from the Willoughby Police Department, Herbert M. Beard, Jr., 23, of Cleveland, faces charges of murder, tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property in the case.

He pleaded not guilty in court, and his bond was set at $1 million.

Miriah L. Provitt, 25, of Boardman, faces a charge of receiving stolen property.

Willoughby police responded to a welfare check at the home of Sam Pizzuto at 11:24 p.m. July 9. Pizzuto hadn't been seen or heard from since July 1.

Officers found the rear sliding glass door to his home in the 37000 block of Arlington Drive unlocked, and they entered the residence. They found Pizzuto dead in a bedroom.

It was determined that Pizzuto died from blunt force trauma to the head. They also discovered his 2007 Dodge Caravan missing.

Authorities were able to locate the stolen van and learned it was sold to a Cleveland resident by two people. The suspects then fled to Columbus.

Detectives were able to identify the suspects as Beard and Provitt. They were arrested July 12.

Police say both suspects lived with Pizutto at the end of June.

Continuing coverage.