Search Continues for Suspects in Death of Sidekicks Manager

About two dozen of Jamie Stickle's friends and co-workers gathered in front of her North Side apartment building for an early-morning candlelight vigil Feb. 15. Photo by John Colombo.

Almost a month after the body of 33-year-old Jamie Stickle was found inside her burning Jeep on the city’s North Side, Pittsburgh police are still looking for suspects and a motive in the apparent murder of the woman who had worked as a bartender, server and manager at several local gay businesses.

According to police, Stickle’s body was discovered about 3:47am Feb. 8 by
firefighters called to extin­guish a car fire in the parking lot outside George Warhola Scrap Metal on Chesbro Street where Stickle rented an up­ stairs apartment.

Stickle was identified two days later through dental records. An autopsy showed that she had suffered smoke inhalation, which the county coroner said indicates Stickle was alive when the fire started.

Investigators at the scene discovered crumpled money and blood on the pavement outside the entrance to her apartment. Blood was also found on the door handle of the Jeep.

“I can’t believe this hap­pened,” said David Morrow, owner of Pegasus and Side­kicks, where Stickle worked as a manager. “I’ve never been through anything like this. I feel numb.”

Morrow told Out Stickle was the type of person who “would show up immediately to help out with anything.”

“We worked together on everything,” said Morrow, who knew Stickle for 10 years. Morrow said he last saw Stickle around midnight Feb. 8 after she finished her shift at Sidekicks and did not learn of her death until a friend called him the following afternoon.

According to investigators, Stickle left Sidekicks and went to Pegasus for a drink. Stickle left Pegasus at approximately 1:15am and went to the House of Tilden. But witnesses said Stickle was not permitted to enter the club because she was visibly intoxicated.

Stickle was buried Feb. 13 in her hometown of Union­town in Fayette County. Friends and family members said they were amazed at the number of people who came to pay their respects at Barnett Funeral Home, adding that more than 40 cars joined the funeral procession.

Stickle’s mother said the service was well-attended by her daughter’s friends from Pittsburgh. “All those people from Pittsburgh loved my girl,” Stickle’s mother said, “and that’s how I made it through today.”

Friends, Co-workers Mourn Jamie Stickle

On Feb. 15, approximately two dozen friends and co-workers held an early morning candlelight vigil outside Stickle’s apartment.

Stickle was well-known in Pittsburgh’s gay and lesbian community for her fund-raising efforts on behalf of a variety of causes and nonprofit organiza­tions, including the Shepherd Wellness Community, the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force and breast cancer and multiple sclerosis charities.

Images owner Chuck House said he gave Stickle her first job in a gay bar and that she continued working at his businesses for nearly eight years. She began working as a waitress at Images in the sum­mer of 1990, and later tended bar at the former Fourth Avenue Stock Exchange beginning in 1993. Stickle also served as the manager of Images from 1998 through 2000.

Honse recalled with fondness that every other month Stickle would launch a campaign to raise money for a charitable cause, whether by selling red AIDS awareness ribbons, paper shamrocks or her own kisses. “I learned a lot about fundraising and charities from her,” Honse told Out.

Local gay businesses will be selling pins bearing the slogan “United for Jamie” for $5 each beginning March 1. The fund-raising campaign— organized by Morrow, Honse, Images manager Wayne Moon and Liberty Avenue Saloon owners Tony Rubino and Joe O’Connell— will end March 22 with a celebration of Stickle’s life scheduled to take place at gay bars on Liberty Avenue.

Moon is also working with the city of Pittsburgh to illuminate the trees along Liberty Avenue as a tribute to Stickle.

A fund has been set up to raise money for a re­ward for information leading to an arrest in the case. Honse told Out he was “pleased with the fast response” from Lambda Foundation President Bill Miller to his request that Lambda manage the reward fund.

Pledges to the reward fund already total $3,500, including $2,000 from gay businesses on Liberty Ave­nue, $1,000 from the Lambda Foundation and $500 from City Councilman Jim Ferlo. The city’s Crime Stoppers unit will add an additional $1,000 to the fund if the case is featured by Crime Stoppers after further investigation.

If an arrest is not made, Honse said, the money collected toward the reward by the Liberty Avenue businesses will be distributed to breast cancer and AIDS charities in Stickle’s name. A charitable fund may also be created in Stickle’s name, Honse said, and the Lambda Foundation has said it would man age the fund as it does the Frank Borrelli AIDS Fund and others.

“I would like everyone to keep their eyes and ears open and alert authorities if they know any­ thing,” Honse told Out. “To find out who is respon sible for this is important to all of us.”

To make a donation to the Jamie Stickle reward fund send a check made payable to the Lambda Foundation to PO Box 5169, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.

This article originally appeared in Pittsburgh’s Out. This article is preserved as a part of the Q Archives project. Please consider donating to help preserve Pittsburgh’s Queer history.