Pennsylvania Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, December 04, 2007, 03:27:19 PM

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Well today is certainly not a good day to buy a scratch ticket.
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.


 :'( The Keystone State is the saddest example of Capital Punishment in the east! It is hard to believe they were once one of the leaders the country in zappings prior to Furman!
There is never a shortage of rope.


Pa. man again gets death sentence in 1994 murder
Posted: Jun 23, 2012 4:23 PM Updated: Jun 23, 2012 4:23 PM

MEDIA, Pa. (AP) - A suburban Philadelphia man has once again been sentenced to death in the murder of a pregnant woman almost two decades ago.

Jurors in Delaware County deliberated for about six hours Friday before imposing a second death sentence on 56-year-old Wayne Smith of Chester in the 1994 death of 26-year-old Eileen Jones, who was three months pregnant.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2010 ordered a new sentencing hearing, citing a lack of efforts to develop mitigating evidence.

Smith declined a plea agreement for a life sentence because it would have barred future appeals.

In his closing argument, defense attorney William Wismer said his client had a history of abuse and drug use and "never had a chance."

Prosecutors, however, cited an earlier manslaughter conviction for which Smith served four years.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Death Sentence Upheld For Copenhefer

Updated: Oct 05, 2012 6:06 AM

It looks like convicted killer David Copenhefer, will remain on death row.
65 year old Copenhefer was sentenced to die in 1989, for the kidnapping and shooting death of Sally Weiner, the wife of a Corry banker.
It all was part of a scheme by Copenhefer to extort money.
Thursday, a federal appeals court reversed a lower court ruling, and upheld the death sentence.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Death penalty for convicted murderer
Posted: 11/15/12 09:50 am

WEST CHESTER -- The Coatesville man who fatally shot a city teenager and dismembered his body with a pair of chain saws, attempting to cover the crime up with the remains of a chopped-up pit bull, was sentenced to death Wednesday by a Common Pleas Court jury.

The seven men and five women who had heard the case against Laquanta Chapman deliberated for about three hours before returning an unanimous verdict to impose the ultimate capital penalty against the man they had less than a week earlier found guilty of the first-degree murder of 16-year-old Aaron Turner.

It is the first death penalty verdict that has been returned by a Chester County jury in almost two decades.

The sentence, which came after two days of testimony and argument in the trial's penalty phase, was met by exclamations of subdued joy from the victim's family, many of whom had attended every day of the three-week-long proceedings. "Thank you, Jesus," some exclaimed before exiting the courtroom.

Chapman, who has been in custody since his arrest four years ago today, was taken from the courtroom by sheriff's deputies in handcuffs. He will be formally sentenced at a later date.

The jury had been asked to determine whether Chapman's past criminal record of violent felonies and the impact his killing of Turner had on his victim's family would be more deserving of the death penalty, or whether his life as an abused and abandoned child lessened the prosecution's demand to put him to death.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Death penalty will stand for a Shamokin man

Posted by Ali Stevens on Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SHAMOKIN - The death penalty will stand for a former Shamokin man convicted of shooting and killing a Kulpmont man during a home invasion in 1994. The News Item reports 40-year-old Kevin Marinelli had sought his conviction and death sentence to be overturned and to be granted a new trial. However, a federal judge denied the request.

Marinelli claimed that his constitutional rights were violated during the trial, but on Monday, Judge Robert Mariani of the U.S. Middle District Court said the claim was meritless. Marinelli was 23 when he was convicted of killing Conrad Dumchock on April 26th of 1994. His death warrant was signed in 1997 by then Governor Ed Rendell, but his execution was stayed by a federal judge. (Ali Stevens)
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


D.A. seeks death penalty in 2008 homicides

Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2012 3:00 pm | Updated: 11:36 pm, Sat Dec 1, 2012.

BEAVER -- Anthony Berosh wants Robert Burgess and Devon Shealey to die.

Beaver County's district attorney is seeking the death penalty against the two former Pittsburgh men charged with killing a Beaver Falls couple in 2008.

During an arraignment Friday for Burgess, 35, and Shealey, 26, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Popovich told county Judge John P. Dohanich that Berosh is asking for the death penalty in the killings of Richard and Demetria Harper.

Burgess and Shealey were charged in July, four years after the Harpers were shot to death in the basement of their home while their two young daughters were kept in a small room.

Witnesses who testified during a preliminary hearing for the pair said Burgess gave Demetria Harper money to go to El Paso, Texas, to buy drugs for him and Shealey, and the killings happened after Demetria Harper failed to deliver the marijuana to Burgess.

At the start of Friday's arraignment, Shealey refused to raise his right hand to be sworn in and told the judge he would only make an affirmation and not take an oath to God.

Burgess did not have an attorney for the arraignment. His attorney for the preliminary hearing, Blaine Jones, withdrew as his attorney. Burgess had not applied for a public defender.

Shealey has already been appointed attorneys from the public defender's office. Dohanich told Burgess the court will appoint an attorney for him, and if he secures private counsel, the court-appointed attorney can withdraw.

After the proceeding, Mitchell Shahen said he has been appointed as Burgess's attorney.

Dohanich said jury selection in the case has been set for Feb. 25.

Shealey attempted to speak directly to Dohanich, but was told to speak to his attorney, Kevin Kindred. Kindred then told Dohanich that Shealey is concerned that he has not been given access to resources, such as legal materials, to help him prepare for the case because of security measures.

Dohanich said that is an issue that should be addressed at a different time.

Burgess and Shealey told Dohanich they are pleading not guilty to the charges. They initially refused to sign the plea forms, but did after several moments.

Burgess and Shealey are each facing more than 30 charges including homicide, kidnapping, false imprisonment, robbery, conspiracy, carrying an unlicensed firearm, convicted felons not to possess firearms and drug charges.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Hopewell death-penalty case moved to April
Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2012 3:00 pm | Updated: 10:52 pm, Sat Dec 1, 2012.

BEAVER -- The death-penalty trial of two stepbrothers from McKees Rocks accused in the beating death earlier this year of a Hopewell Township man has been delayed until next spring.

Beau William Chermer, 22, and Joseph Michael Arlott, 25, originally were scheduled for trial on Nov. 13 in Beaver County Court, but court administrators announced Friday the new date for jury selection has been set for April 22.

The men are accused of beating 82-year-old Daniel Santia so badly during an April 29 home invasion of his Beverly Drive house that he died about a month later on May 22.

In court documents, prosecutors said the aggravating factors that led to the decision to seek the death penalty were that the offense occurred during the commission of another felony and Santia was tortured.

The announcement comes the same day Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Popovich filed notice at the arraignment for Robert Lamont Burgess, 35, and Devon Shealey, 26, both formerly of Pittsburgh, that the county will be seeking the death penalty for them in the June 30, 2008, killings of Richard and Demetria Harper in their Beaver Falls home. Their trial has been scheduled to start Feb. 25.

The last Beaver County death-penalty case was the February 2011 trial of Gregory Baker, 58, of New Sewickley Township.

Baker was charged with fatally shooting 48-year-old Thomas Dougherty of Chippewa Township on Dec. 3, 2009, in the parking lot of the East Rochester Shopping Plaza because he mistakenly thought Dougherty was dating Baker's estranged wife.

Baker was acquitted of the first-degree murder charge that could have brought the death penalty, but was convicted of third-degree murder and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in state prison.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


DA seeks death penalty in Pa. triple killing
Updated 5:52 a.m., Tuesday, December 11, 2012

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) -- Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for one of two brothers charged with killing three people, including a 15-year-old girl, during a botched drug deal.

The Luzerne County district attorney's office says it wants 18-year-old Shawn James Hamilton put to death if he's convicted of first-degree murder in the July shooting in Plymouth.

Hamilton and his 16-year-old half brother, Sawud Davis, allegedly killed 21-year-old Bradley Swartwood, 17-year-old Nicholas Maldonado and 15-year-old Lisa Abaunza in a robbery. Maldonaldo's 19-year-old brother was also wounded.

Hamilton and Davis pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Monday. Davis' attorneys want his case transferred to juvenile court.

Hamilton previously claimed Davis was innocent and said he fired the shots in self-defense.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Allentown serial killer waives appeal rights in exchange for life sentence
Published On: Dec 14 2012 03:33:07 PM EST


An Allentown man who was convicted of the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl has agreed to give up his appeal rights in that case in exchange for a sentence of life in prison, according to a Friday release from Lehigh County District Attorney James B. Martin.

In addition to waiving his appeal rights, Harvey M. Robinson also waived any right to ever seek a pardon or a commutation of sentence from the governor.

In 1994, Robinson was convicted of the rape and murder of Charlotte Schmoyer, a newspaper carrier, as well as two other women, Joan Burghardt and Jessica Fortney.

In each case he was originally sentenced to death. The defendant remains sentenced to death for the Fortney murder. In 2012, Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas Judge Edward Reibman denied the defendant's latest challenge to that sentence and it is currently on appeal.

Under Pennsylvania Law, in capital first degree murder cases, the jury first decides the question of guilt. If the jury finds a person guilty of first degree murder, then a second question, the sentence to be imposed, is presented to the same jury. The jury weighs aggravating and mitigating factors and determines whether a sentence of death or life imprisonment should be imposed. The jury in Robinson's cases imposed the death sentence in all three cases.

In 2001, Judge Reibman upheld the guilty verdict but vacated the death sentence for the murder of Schmoyer, holding that the Trial Judge gave an improper instruction to the jury during the original sentencing phase.

After that ruling, the Commonwealth immediately advised the Court that it would re-try Robinson in a new sentencing trial, to again seek a sentence of death. Over the next decade, Robinson, represented by several different court-appointed lawyers, filed numerous appeals and motions. Over the objection of the Commonwealth, several postponements requested by various defense attorneys were granted by the Court.

Currently the sentencing re-trial for the Schmoyer killing is scheduled for March 2013, almost 12 years after the Commonwealth asked the Court to hold it.

On Friday, Dec. 14, Robinson signed a written agreement, and ratified it in court, waiving his right to challenge the conviction or the sentence for the Schmoyer killing in exchange for a life sentence. Under Pennsylvania Law, a life sentence means that Robinson will serve the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. The hearing was held before Judge Reibman, and he imposed the sentence of life imprisonment.

Lehigh County Chief Deputy District Attorney and Chief of Prosecutions, Stephen M. Van Natten said that after the Commonwealth was successful in defeating Robinson's most recent appeal to his death sentence for the Fortney killing, the Schmoyer family requested that the District Attorney conclude Charlotte's case without the necessity of further hearings or appeals. The family has approved of this resolution.

Martin said the agreement is in the best interest of the Schmoyer family and is in the interest of justice. "The Schmoyer family wanted to resolve this case so they can have some measure of closure. It has been almost two decades and they have endured continued trauma every time the case has been scheduled and continued and when new appeals and motions have been filed," Martin said. "This agreement also protects society and the public safety because it ensures that an extremely dangerous person will remain in prison for the rest of his life. In addition, the death sentence for the Fortney killing has been upheld on both direct and collateral appeal; will continue to be pursued; and, we are very confident that it will remain intact after all the appeals are exhausted."

After the death sentences were originally set in 1994, Robinson filed numerous appeals. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld all the convictions. However, the death sentence for the killing of Joan Burghardt was vacated after a 2005 United States Supreme Court ruling held that offenders who committed murder while they were juveniles (under age 18) could not be sentenced to death. Robinson, who was 17 when he committed the Burghardt murder, was then sentenced to life in prison for that murder.

The death sentence for the Fortney killing was upheld by Judge Reibman and on direct appeal by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Robinson then filed an appeal seeking collateral relief under the state's Post Conviction Relief Act, claiming that his trial attorneys were ineffective during his original sentencing trial. In that appeal Robinson sought a new sentencing trial. In June 2012, Judge Reibman denied that appeal. Robinson has appealed that ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and with the resolution in the Schmoyer case, it is his only remaining appeal.

In other 1993 cases, Robinson pled guilty to raping and attempting to kill another woman, burglary, and engaging in a shootout with a police officer; and was also convicted of raping and attempting to kill a 5 year old girl.

Currently, Robinson is serving an aggregate sentence of more than 140 years to 280 years for those other cases; two life sentences for the murders of Joan Burghardt and Charlotte Schmoyer; and in facing the sentence of death for the murder of Jessica Fortney.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

Grinning Grim Reaper

And in the wow is this big news category...

Governor Corbett Signs Execution Warrants For Orlando Maisonet, Abraham Sanchez Jr. And Freeman May

Orlando Maisonet, Abraham Sanchez Jr. and Freeman May are all incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Greene.

May was convicted of first-degree murder in 1991 for the stabbing death of 22-year-old Kathy Lynn Fair. His execution by lethal injection is scheduled for March 5.

Orlando Maisonet participated in the brutal stabbing death of Jorge Figueroa in September 1982 inside a Philadelphia home.

The murder was committed by members of a local drug organization. One of the group's members later cooperated with police, identifying the three men who killed Figueroa as brothers, Heriberto and Simon Pirela, as well as Maisonet.

Prosecutors argued that Figueroa, stabbed 20 times, was killed by the organization to prevent him from cooperating with police in the investigation of an earlier robbery-homicide.

The Pirela brothers were arrested and convicted. Both are serving sentences of life in prison. Maisonet eluded capture for nearly a decade until he was located in Puerto Rico in 1990 and extradited back to Philadelphia.

Maisonet, now 54, was eventually convicted and sentenced to death in Philadelphia County Court in February 2005. His execution has been scheduled for March 6.

Abraham Sanchez Jr. repeatedly shot Ray Diener in front of Diener's Lancaster County home during a botched robbery attempt in May 2007.

Sanchez and three friends were driving around, looking for a home to burglarize, when they noticed an isolated home with a light on and the victim sitting at a table inside.

During his two years in office, Corbett has signed 24 execution warrants. YAWN
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?


WOW! They've scheduled a triple header!

My prediction is that precisely zero of these scumbags will EVER get x'ed!

What a waste of time

Yawn indeed!


I will make a very bold prediction and predict that one of them gets what's coming to them. Which one is it? You won't hear it from me  8) ;D
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.

Grinning Grim Reaper

This is the only way PA can snuff them...

Convicted Killer Copenhefer Dies

Posted: Jan 15, 2013 1:14 PM CST Updated: Jan 15, 2013 1:14 PM CST

By Paul Wagner - email

An Erie County death row inmate is dead. A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections said that 65 year old David Copenhefer died Sunday of natural causes at the state prison in Greene County.

Copenhefer was sentenced to death by an Erie County jury for the 1988 kidnapping and murder of 37-year old Sally Weiner, the wife of a Corry banker. It was part of a scheme by Copenhefer to extort money.

He was just one of two local inmates on Pennsylvania's death row.

Copenhefer had spent years fighting to overturn the death sentence. Just last year, a federal appeals court upheld that sentence, after considering arguments from Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri.
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?


January 23, 2013, 09:15:34 PM Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 09:19:49 PM by turboprinz
Hate crimes alleged in holding of captives in Philly boiler room
By Sarah Hoye, CNN
January 23, 2013 -- Updated 2113 GMT (0513 HKT)

Philadelphia (CNN) -- A federal indictment was unsealed Wednesday, charging a woman and her alleged con-conspirators with racketeering, sex trafficking, hate crimes and other violent crimes in the case of four disabled adults held captive in a dank Philadelphia boiler room.

The 196-count indictment, announced by the U.S. Attorney's Office, follows earlier state charges against four of the defendants and alleges the captors held adults with disabilities in subhuman conditions in order to carry out Social Security fraud.

Linda Ann Weston, 52, who police have described as the ringleader of the alleged fraud and abuse scheme, her daughter, Jean McIntosh, 33, Gregory Thomas, Sr., 49, Eddie Wright, 52, and Nicklaus Woodard, 26, are accused of using isolation, intimidation, threats of violence and violence to control the victims and each defendant had a role in the racketeering enterprise, according to the indictment.

Additional charges in the federal indictment include murder in aid of racketeering, kidnapping, forced human labor, theft and fraud.

The investigation into Weston and her alleged co-conspirators began when the four mentally disabled adults were found in October 2011 locked in the sub-basement room with no food and only a bucket for a toilet.

According to the indictment, the defendants beat the victims, kept them captive in locked closets, basements and attics, deprived them of adequate food and medical care, and moved them between Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Florida in order to further the scheme and evade law enforcement.

The defendants also are charged with violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act -- which criminalizes violence motivated by any person's actual or perceived disability, race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity -- for their alleged actions against the disabled victims.

"The physically and mentally disabled are among the most vulnerable in our society. They deserve to be treated with respect and compassion, not violence," U.S Attorney Zane David Memeger said in a statement. "Linda Weston and others, in fact, decided to prey on these victims specifically because of their physical and mental challenges and they did so through violence, fear and intimidation for the purpose of stealing Social Security payments that were meant for the victims' long-term care."

As the first hate crimes case of its kind because the victims were disabled, the indictment alleges that Weston's "abusive control and confinement techniques" caused the deaths of two of the victims, including Weston's former roommate, Maxine Lee, who she allegedly continued to collect benefits from after she died of acute meningitis.

The medical examiner said a contributing factor in Lee's death was "cachexia of unknown origin," or malnutrition. The manner of death is listed as "natural causes."

New details emerge in case of people held captive in Philadelphia

"Shocking does not begin to describe the criminal allegations in this case where the victims were tied up and confined like zoo animals and treated like property akin to slaves," Memeger said.

The four mentally disabled adults held captive -- Edwin Sanabria, Herbert Knowles, Tamara Breeden and Derwin McLemire -- were locked in a pitch-black, 13-by-7 foot room that housed the former boiler used to heat the building, police said.

A penetrating stench of urine and feces still hung in the chamber days after the discovery. McLemire had been chained to the boiler, police said.

"I used the bucket to go to the bathroom. Others used the same bucket," Sanabria testified last January at hearing where a judge ordered the case to go to trial. When asked where he took a bath, he said they "used the same bucket we used to urinate in."

Brother of captive describes emotional reunion

The investigation took several bizarre twists as authorities tried to piece together the evidence in the case, which has spread to at least two other states after detectives discovered that one of the accused had traveled across state lines with the people found in the boiler room.

"Today's Indictment represents just one more step towards closure and healing, not only for the victims of this heinous hate crime, but for the community as a whole," FBI Special Agent-in-Charge John Brosnan said in a statement.

If convicted of all federal charges, each of the defendants faces a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison. Weston potentially faces the death penalty and mandatory restitution of approximately $212,000.

Weston and three co-defendants are scheduled to go on trial January 28 on state charges, according to the Philadelphia district attorney's office.

Weston's attorney was not immediately available for comment.
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

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