NORRISTOWN — A Plymouth man remained stoic as a judge virtually ensured that he will remain behind bars for the rest of his life for sexually assaulting and killing a 14-year-old girl.
Mark P. O’Donnell, 49, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Thursday to life imprisonment for his first-degree murder conviction in connection with the December 2007 murder of 14-year-old Ebony Dorsey, a Wissahickon High School freshman honors student.
Judge William J. Furber Jr. also sentenced O’Donnell to a consecutive 11- to 22-year prison term on charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and abuse of a corpse. The additional jail time will make it more difficult for a governor to ever commute O’Donnell’s sentence in the future.
“First he committed the sexual offense and then he killed her. Based upon what he put her through in this evil murder I asked for consecutive sentences so that justice would be delivered for both of those crimes,” said First Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, who prosecuted O’Donnell. “That’s the just thing to do to a man who committed this evil act.”
O’Donnell showed no emotion and did not address the judge before learning his fate. Defense lawyer Thomas C. Egan III said O’Donnell maintains he is innocent of the sexual assault charges.
Judge Furber also classified O’Donnell as a sexually violent predator, finding O’Donnell meets criteria under Megan’s Law for the classification.
Dr. Barbara Ziv, a forensic psychologist who evaluates offenders for the Pennsylvania Sexual Offender Assessment Board, testified O’Donnell has a mental abnormality and personality disorder that makes him likely to re-offend in the future.
“Mr. O’Donnell has a high recidivism risk if allowed back in the community,” Ziv testified for prosecutors, who sought the predator classification for O’Donnell.
Furber, who presided over O’Donnell’s six-day, non-jury trial last summer, convicted O’Donnell of first-degree murder, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and other sex and drug offenses in connection with Dorsey’s death.
Steele and co-prosecutor Samantha Cauffman argued for the death penalty for O’Donnell while Egan argued against the death penalty. The judge determined life imprisonment without parole is the appropriate punishment.
Dorsey was last seen alive on the night of Dec. 6, 2007, when O’Donnell, who had a 2 ˝ year drug-and-sex relationship with Dorsey’s mother, Danielle Cattie, drove her from the Ambler home she shared with her mother to the Plymouth apartment he shared with his estranged wife so Dorsey could baby-sit his 4-year-old daughter.
O’Donnell returned to Cattie’s home after midnight on Dec. 7 where he and Cattie shared cocaine, authorities alleged. O’Donnell left Cattie’s home around 5:30 a.m. to pick up Dorsey and bring her home.
It was during his return to his apartment that the killing took place, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors contended that O’Donnell, after viewing hundreds of pornographic photos on the Internet at his apartment, sexually assaulted Dorsey and then beat and strangled her to death to prevent her from telling anyone about the sexual attack.
After the killing, O’Donnell stuffed the teenager’s body into a 20-gallon storage container and hid it under some leaves and sticks in a wooded area in Blue Bell. The body was discovered less than 48 hours after Cattie reported her daughter missing.
Testimony revealed that O’Donnell’s 4-year-old daughter witnessed Dorsey’s murder.
During the penalty phase of his trial last June, O’Donnell, who expressed remorse for the slaying but continued to deny the sexual assault, told a judge he didn’t want to live.
“I don’t want to be selfish because I know my family does not want me to give up, but I have a hard time looking at myself in the mirror. I have lost my faith, and even with Jesus forgiving me, I can’t forgive myself. I want to die,” O’Donnell testified last June.
Two weeks after his conviction, O’Donnell apparently attempted suicide in his jail cell by using a piece of a disposable razor to cut his wrist. Correctional officers discovered O’Donnell with the injury in his cell, which was in the maximum-security wing of the jail, and immediately summoned medical assistance.
The injury didn’t require O’Donnell to be hospitalized and he was treated at the jail’s infirmary.
Testimony revealed that O’Donnell served five years in a California prison in the 1980s for shooting another man in the back three times during an argument. http://delcotimes.com/articles/2009/01/09/news/doc49676253df763299726083.txt