Coroner: Human remains found in former home of man convicted in slaying of wife

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Human remains have been found in the former residence of a man convicted last week of murder in the death of his wife, authorities said.

The (Johnstown) Tribune-Democrat reports that 48-year-old Brian Giles lived with Nancy Giles in an apartment in the Johnstown house before she went missing in October 2018. Her remains were found in May 2019 in a shallow grave near a trail on the Inclined Plane hillside in downtown Johnstown.

Jurors in Cambria County deliberated for about an hour Thursday before convicting Brian Giles of first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the death of Nancy Giles, the newspaper reported. As he was led from the courtroom, Giles said he wanted people to know he is innocent. Defense attorney Timothy Burns, who had cited his client’s report of mental health struggles, called the outcome “disappointing” and said the defense would explore its options.

On Friday, authorities searched Giles’ former residence in the city’s Kernville section after a report of a possible body. Coroner Jeffrey Lees confirmed that human remains were found in the basement, calling the death “highly suspicious” and vowing a lengthy and methodical investigation.

Lees said after an autopsy Saturday that the remains would be taken to Mercyhurst University in Erie on Monday for more forensic investigation, and after receiving those results and other information he would make a ruling on the cause and manner of death. Identification of the remains would be a top priority, he said.

Authorities have said that Jilly Todaro, Giles’ girlfriend after the disappearance of his wife, also lived at the apartment and disappeared in December 2020. Todaro remains missing and officials would not confirm whether the search is related to that case, in which no charges have been filed.

Burns, who represented Giles in the trial over the death of Nancy Giles, declined comment Sunday on the discovery of the remains.