Valerie Suzette Friend EX FED DR Resentenced to 35yrs in 2005 Murder

Started by Michael, April 30, 2010, 07:14:47 AM

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Michael

April 30, 2010, 07:14:47 AM Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 10:52:15 PM by Jeff1857
Closing arguments will come Friday morning in Charleston Federal Court in the penalty phase of the trial of George "Porgy" Lecco from Mingo County.

For a second time, the Red Jacket man has been convicted this week of arranging the murder of a drug informant in 2005 to protect his cocaine distribution business.  A federal jury must now decide if he'll be sentenced to die again because of it.

Lecco and Valerie Friend, his former co-defendant, were sentenced to the death penalty in their first trial for the murder of Carla Collins but that conviction was thrown out because of a juror problem.

Friend entered a plea prior to the second trial to escape the possibility of the death penalty and took the stand earlier this month to testify against Lecco.

It was Friend and Patricia Burton, one of Lecco's girlfriends and Pizza Plus employees, who killed Collins when Lecco offered to pay them to do so.  Collins was shot several times and beaten with a cinder block at an abandoned trailer in Double Camp Hollow in Mingo County.

Her body was later buried in a shallow grave.

Lecco reportedly feared she was providing information about his ongoing cocaine sales to law enforcement officers.

http://www.wvmetronews.com/index.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=36792
I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

Jeff1857

#1
July 27, 2010, 10:27:22 PM Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 10:52:57 PM by Jeff1857
Mingo woman sentenced to 35 years in drug informant slaying


CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Mingo County woman who admitted that she shot a federal drug informant to help protect a drug ring was sentenced Tuesday to 35 years in prison.

In October, Valerie Suzette Friend, 47, admitted that she shot Carla Collins, a 33-year-old mother of three, in the chest in an abandoned trailer near Newtown in April 2005. She said George M. "Porgy" Lecco, who sold cocaine out of Pizza Plus, his Red Jacket restaurant, asked her to shoot Collins.

Friend had faced a mandatory life sentence, but U.S. District Court Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. imposed a lesser sentence after prosecutors said that Friend's cooperation had helped them convict Lecco.

Lecco, 61, and Friend had been tried together on charges stemming from Collins' murder and the drug ring, and a jury convicted them and imposed the death penalty for both in 2007. Copenhaver later set aside that verdict because of juror misconduct and granted them new trials.

Before the retrial, Friend cut a deal with prosecutors in which she agreed to testify against Lecco. In exchange, they took the death penalty off the table.

Earlier this year, with Friend as a witness for the prosecution, a jury again convicted Lecco, but opted not to impose the death penalty.

Patricia Burton, 41, who sold cocaine for Lecco and recruited Friend to kill Collins on his behalf, was sentenced to 30 years in prison last week for her role in the murder.

Copenhaver told Friend that she had participated in a "heinous act" by helping murder Collins.

Friend, Burton, and another woman lured Collins to the abandoned trailer on Double Camp Road using cocaine provided by Lecco, he noted. While Friend, Burton and Collins all went inside the trailer, Burton withdrew after the assault started, he said.

"You remained, and you attacked Carla Collins with gusto at that point, until she was dead," he told Friend, adding that she was the "principal hitwoman."

Friend wept as she apologized for the devastating effects her actions had on two families, Collins' and her own.

"Nothing I can say can bring [her] back," she said. "I hope now that this is over her family can get some closure."

Charleston lawyer Gary Collias, one of two lawyers representing Friend, asked Copenhaver to give her a shorter sentence than Burton because Friend had helped convict Lecco and had helped the government "untie the knot of confusion" surrounding Collins' death by giving the most truthful and accurate account of that night.

Friend was the victim of sexual assault and domestic abuse, and turned to drugs and alcohol to try to cope with her horrible past, he said.

While she was responsible for her actions, all of the people involved were high on cocaine that night, he said.

"The insanity of this crime might never have taken place if they all weren't intoxicated on drugs," he said. He then hastened to add that being high was not an excuse.

In addition to the cooperation in the Lecco case, Friend is helping authorities who are investigating allegations that corrections officers had improper sexual contact with female inmates at the Carter County Detention Center in Kentucky, where she has spent much of the five years she has been in custody, he said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Phil Wright said Friend's cooperation was "very significant" to the government's case against Lecco, made all the more crucial because Burton's testimony was not totally reliable. Prosecutors did not call Burton, who testified during the first trial in 2007, during Lecco's second trial.

"[Friend] put Mr. Lecco into the murder as the person who wanted it done," Wright said.

But Friend participated in a brutal murder, and "exhibited a level of coldness and a lack of compassion that was, quite frankly, chilling," he said.

Without Friend's involvement, Collins might not have been killed, he said.

"We don't believe that Patricia Burton would have had the nerve or wherewithal to carry it out herself," he said.

Tina Collins, the victim's mother, chose not to attend the hearing or address the court, Wright said.

Lecco's sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 18.

http://wvgazette.com/News/201007270678

heidi salazar

#2
July 28, 2010, 03:25:13 AM Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 03:29:29 AM by Heidi
Burns, Lecco and Friend should have received the death penalty! I have never been a supporter of LOP, but in this case it was a cold blooded calculated murder to save one's  :-\

Friend was the victim of sexual assault and domestic abuse, and turned to drugs and alcohol to try to cope with her horrible past,

Hmm..so instead of seeking therapy...let's just MURDER the FEDERAL INFORMANT on my supplier? BTW Friend was no spring chicken when she committed this murder. She was 42!

The insanity of this crime might never have taken place if they all weren't intoxicated on drugs,

Or inbreeding!

In addition to the cooperation in the Lecco case, Friend is helping authorities who are investigating allegations that corrections officers had improper sexual contact with female inmates at the Carter County Detention Center in Kentucky, where she has spent much of the five years she has been in custody, he said.

Sounds like a rat that needs to be exterminated!

This entire case has been a clusterf _ _k since the get go!

I hope the Collins children can find some solice in this sentencing!

Ron Reeger

Heidi, I applaud you for your upholding of a proud Virginia tradition of deriding West Virginians for keeping it in the family!

Thinktwice


Burns, Lecco and Friend should have received the death penalty! I have never been a supporter of LOP, but in this case it was a cold blooded calculated murder to save one's  :-\

Friend was the victim of sexual assault and domestic abuse, and turned to drugs and alcohol to try to cope with her horrible past,

Hmm..so instead of seeking therapy...let's just MURDER the FEDERAL INFORMANT on my supplier? BTW Friend was no spring chicken when she committed this murder. She was 42!

The insanity of this crime might never have taken place if they all weren't intoxicated on drugs,

Or inbreeding!

In addition to the cooperation in the Lecco case, Friend is helping authorities who are investigating allegations that corrections officers had improper sexual contact with female inmates at the Carter County Detention Center in Kentucky, where she has spent much of the five years she has been in custody, he said.

Sounds like a rat that needs to be exterminated!

This entire case has been a clusterf _ _k since the get go!

I hope the Collins children can find some solice in this sentencing!


...

I agree, drugs has a role to play ... but also greed does to.    People need to be responsible for their actions!!

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