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Author Topic: DP Trial Set for John Gerholt in 2008 PA Murder of Karen Gerholt  (Read 2685 times)

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heidi salazar

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DP Trial Set for John Gerholt in 2008 PA Murder of Karen Gerholt
« on: November 20, 2009, 06:48:23 PM »
PA DA Plans to seek the death penalty against John Gerholt for the murder of his wife Karen

By JOE MANDAK
Associated Press Writer


PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A man accused of murdering his wife has been charged with forging documents to steal a cemetery plot so he could be buried beside her.

Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins contends the alleged scam is 39-year-old John Gerholt's latest effort to harass his late wife, Karen, and her relatives.

"I've never seen somebody so persistent with somebody they killed, trying to torment them after they've killed them. Isn't that enough?" Higgins said.

Gerholt's defense attorney, Thomas Dickey, denied that his client is harassing his late wife's family.

"This is just another sign of his true love and devotion to his wife, albeit deceased," Dickey said.

Gerholt is accused of shooting his 24-year-old wife twice with a sawed-off shotgun as she left for a break at the McDonald's where she worked near Everett, about 90 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Dickey claims the Nov. 9, 2008, shooting was accidental. Higgins calls that "inconsistent," because he contends the gun would have to be cocked between the first and second shots.

Gerholt is charged with murder and awaiting trial. Higgins is pursuing the death penalty because Karen Gerholt had a protection-from-abuse order against her husband, and because John Gerholt allegedly endangered others outside the restaurant.

Gerholt, of Mount Union, was already jailed when the forgery and theft charges were filed Friday.

Karen Gerholt's aunt owned two empty burial lots at a cemetery, Higgins said. The aunt gave up one for Karen and planned to give the other to another relative, only to discover it had already been deeded to Gerholt, he said. The aunt contacted authorities and the deed in Gerholt's name has since been voided, Higgins said.

Gerholt somehow got paperwork into the county jail, had it forged and had a jail employee notarize it, Higgins said.

Nobody else has been charged with helping Gerholt, though the prosecutor said he hasn't ruled out charging Karen's mother, Carolyn McConaughey, who inquired about ownership of the cemetery plot shortly before Gerholt got the documents.

McConaughey, of Huntingdon County, regularly visits Gerholt at the jail and has urged Higgins not to prosecute her former son-in-law, the prosecutor said. "We don't know why," Higgins said.

McConaughey told The Associated Press she "didn't have any involvement" in the burial plot transfer. She said she inquired about its ownership because she wanted to bury her mother next to her daughter, but dropped the matter when she never heard back from the owner.

Asked about her sympathies for Gerholt, she said, "All I want to say is, he loved my daughter and I don't believe he intentionally shot her for any reason." Then she hung up.

Higgins said Gerholt has placed newspaper ads mourning his wife's passing on her birthday, on Valentine's Day, and on the anniversary of her death. He called the ads an effort to win public sympathy and further harass his wife's relatives.

The anniversary ad says, "I won't stop looking for you until I meet up with you again in Heaven." It appeared next to one from McConaughey, her husband and other relatives.

"He's letting her know that he's going to track her down in heaven, and be buried next to her," Higgins said. "That's the way we see this and it's extremely disturbing."

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_BURIAL_PLOT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

heidi salazar

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Re: DA: Pa. man scammed burial plot by wife he killed
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2010, 07:13:12 AM »
Date for murder trial is unclear
Judge handling case has retired


BEDFORD — A date for the capital murder trial of a man charged with gunning down his estranged wife in a Bedford County McDonald’s parking lot remains uncertain after the judge handling the case retired effective last week.

Retiring Judge Daniel Howsare has already been appointed by the state Court Administrator’s office as a senior judge, but as of Tuesday a trial date had not been set for the case of John Gerholt.

A Mount Union native, Gerholt, 39, has been in the Bedford County Jail since the Nov. 9, 2008, shooting death of his wife, Karen Gerholt, 24, of Hopewell.

If Gerholt is convicted of first-degree murder, Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins said he will seek the death penalty.

Court-appointed defense attorney Thomas Dickey of Altoona said he is ready for trial with the uncertainty being Howsare’s appointment to the case. Dickey anticipates the trial starting in late August.

Higgins said because the jury will have to be death-qualified, a trial before fall will be difficult.

“I need three or four weeks to get my witnesses ready, but we need time to get jury questionnaires out,” Higgins said. “I can try it in August, but the earliest it could happen is September.”

Howsare, on the bench since the mid-1980s, retired effective July 4, but indicated a willingness to serve in a senior capacity, especially in the Gerholt case.

Art Heinz, a spokesman for the state Court Administrator’s office, said Howsare’s appointment as a senior judge is broad.

“It’s just a general assignment, not a particular case,” Heinz said.

Gerholt, 39, is accused of shooting his wife to death as she took a break in the parking lot of the Snake Spring Township McDonald’s where she was employed.

The two were estranged and Karen Gerholt days earlier had sought and was given a protection from abuse order by Bedford County Judge Thomas Ling.

Ling has since recused himself from the case because of his involvement in the restraining order.

Bedford is a two-judge county, and since Howsare’s retirement, Ling has taken over as president judge and will assume responsibility for assigning Howsare, officials said.

Howsare, 61, retired about halfway into his third 10-year term on the bench. Historically, the vacancy would be filled temporarily through a recommendation from state Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Blair, with an appointment by the governor.

Candidates would seek their party nomination and election in 2011 so the vacant seat on the bench would be filled in January 2012.

But Gov. Ed Rendell is accepting a recommendation made by the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Ronald Castille, that judicial vacancies go unfilled through the end of 2011 and the election.

Heinz said the recommendation is in light of the state’s financial difficulties.

An exception would be made where special needs can be documented.

Estimates are that as much as $3.3 million could be saved by not filling the 28 judicial vacancies statewide, including Howsare’s, Higgins said.

“Basically we’re going to have a vacancy for a year and a half,” he said.

http://tribune-democrat.com/local/x383296273/Date-for-murder-trial-is-unclear

heidi salazar

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Re: DP Trial Set for John Gerholt in 2008 PA Murder of Karen Gerholt
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2010, 03:35:46 AM »
Murder trial set

The trial for a man facing the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the 2008 shooting death of his wife in a McDonald’s parking lot has been set for late fall.

Jury selection in the capital murder case of John Lewis Gerholt will begin Nov. 1, Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins said.

This initial process, which includes seating a death qualified jury, will take about a week, with the testimony and remainder of the case to take about two weeks, Higgins said.

Gerholt, 39, of Mount Union, is charged in the Nov. 9, 2008, shooting death of his estranged wife, Karen Gerholt, 24, of Bedford County.

Karen Gerholt was working at the Snake Spring Township McDonald’s when she walked outside to take a break. Police allege that her husband was lying in wait and opened fire, killing her with two shots from a 12-gauge shotgun.

The defendant has maintained that the shooting was an accident.

The trial has been tentatively scheduled a number of times with prosecution and defense predicting earlier this summer that it could be held as early as late August.  But any date remained unclear following the July retirement of Judge Daniel Howsare.

Howsare has since been named by President Judge Thomas Ling to handle the Gerholt trial. Ling recused himself from the case because he handled a protection from abuse order that Karen Gerholt sought weeks prior to her death.

Efforts likely will be made to pick a jury from Bedford County, Higgins said.

“We’ve been ready for quite some time,” he said.

Court appointed attorney Thomas Dickey of Altoona could not reached for comment Monday. Dickey told The Tribune-Democrat last month that he is ready to defend Gerholt.

http://tribune-democrat.com/local/x1316178080/Murder-trial-set

Offline AnneTheBelgian

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Re: DP Trial Set for John Gerholt in 2008 PA Murder of Karen Gerholt
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2010, 01:00:20 PM »
http://www.centredaily.com/2010/11/09/2328852/pa-burial-plot-charges-split-from.html

Pa. burial plot charges split from murder trial

- The Associated Press

November 9, 2010 3:19pm EST

BEDFORD, Pa. — A western Pennsylvania man charged with murdering his wife will have a separate trial on charges he forged documents to steal a cemetery plot so he could be buried beside her.

Forty-year-old John Gerholt Sr. has claimed he accidentally shot his wife, 24-year-old Karen Gerholt, on Nov. 9, 2008, as she left work. Bedford County prosecutors want the death penalty.

The prosecutors also wanted that trial to deal with charges that Gerholt forged cemetery documents while in jail. But a Bedford County judge says the trial set to begin Nov. 30 will deal only with the murder charges.

Gerholt will later stand trial for the alleged burial plot.

District Attorney William Higgins says Gerholt, essentially, continued to stalk his wife after her death. Gerholt's attorney says his client is merely devoted to his late wife.








Anne
"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

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Offline AnneTheBelgian

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Re: DP Trial Set for John Gerholt in 2008 PA Murder of Karen Gerholt
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2011, 01:39:20 PM »
http://tribune-democrat.com/local/x991598201/Jury-for-murder-trial-could-be-picked-soon

January 5, 2011

Jury for murder trial could be picked soon

Kathy Mellott

The Tribune-Democrat

Wed Jan 05, 2011, 10:31 PM EST

BEDFORD — Questionnaires for Bedford County residents who will be part of the jury pool for an upcoming capital murder trial are set to go out next month, court officials said Wednesday.

The questionnaires for potential jurors in the John Gerholt trial will go out Feb. 16 with Feb. 23 scheduled as the first day to start picking a panel, Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins said.

The process, which will include extensive questioning to determine if the potential jurors would be able to support the death penalty if Gerholt is convicted of first-degree murder, should take about a week, Higgins said.

“We expect the trial to begin March 1,” he said.

Gerholt, 40, is charged with gunning down his estranged wife on Nov. 9, 2008, in the parking lot of the McDonald’s along Route 30 east of Bedford.

Shooting victim Karen Gerholt, 24, a mother of four children, was taking a break from her job at the fast-food restaurant when police say the defendant gunned her down with two shots from a rifle he had in his car.

Gerholt does not dispute that he shot his wife, but he has maintained that it was an accident.

In the weeks leading up to the shooting, Karen Gerholt had obtained a protection from abuse order from Bedford County Judge Thomas Ling.

Higgins, in listing the aggravating circumstances for seeking the death penalty, said the defendant’s violation of that court order was a criminal act. Additionally, the shooting took place in a congested parking lot, endangering the  lives of a number of people.

Gerholt’s trial has repeatedly been delayed at the request of defense attorney Thomas Dickey  of Altoona, appointed by the Bedford County courts to handle the case.

Because it is a death-penalty case, state law requires that the defense attorney must have extensive criminal trial experience and be death- penalty qualified.

Bedford County at the time of the incident did not have a death qualified attorney outside of the prosecutor’s office.

In mid-November, Judge Daniel Howsare gave Dickey until Dec. 17 to provide the district attorney’s office with copies of reports from a laundry list of experts who will testify on behalf of Gerholt.

Higgins said Wednesday that he has yet to receive the experts’ reports, but was continuing to prepare for trial.

“I’d like some time to review them,” Higgins said.

The prosecution has had experts of its own examine the gun and other evidence.

“We’re confident we know what was going on,” Higgins said.

Dickey did not return telephone calls seeking comment.












Anne
"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

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Offline AnneTheBelgian

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Re: DP Trial Set for John Gerholt in 2008 PA Murder of Karen Gerholt
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2011, 09:41:17 AM »
http://tribune-democrat.com/local/x898211692/Judge-orders-tests-on-murder-defendant

May 23, 2011

Judge orders tests on murder defendant

Kathy Mellott

The Tribune-Democrat Mon May

23, 2011, 11:22 PM EDT

BEDFORD — A Bedford County judge wants a murder defendant tested to determine if he is mentally deficient, as claimed by his attorney.

District Attorney William Higgins said Monday he is contacting a psychologist to visit John Gerholt at the Bedford County Jail for interviews and testing to determine his mental capacity.

“There’s not going to be any delay on our part,” Higgins said. “I’m working on it now. We’ll have him evaluated here at the jail.”

Gerholt is charged in the Nov. 9, 2008, shooting death of his estranged wife, Karen Gerholt, 24, of Hopewell.

He could face the death penalty if convicted.















Anne
"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

PRO DEATH PENALTY AND PROUD OF IT !!!

JE MAINTIENDRAI (MOTTO OF WILLIAM I THE SILENT, PRINCE OF ORANGE, 1533 - 1584, MOTTO OF THE NETHERLANDS)

DEO JUVANTE (MOTTO OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO)

PROUD TO BE BELGIAN !!! I LOVE MY KINGDOM !!!

Offline AnneTheBelgian

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http://tribune-democrat.com/local/x94877536/NEW-Psychiatrist-Alleged-killer-is-not-mentally-retarded

September 19, 2011

NEW – Psychiatrist: Alleged killer is not mentally retarded

KATHY MELLOTT kmellott@tribdem.com

BEDFORD — A Pittsburgh-based psychiatrist testified in Bedford County court today that the man charged with gunning down his wife in a McDonald's parking lot nearly three years ago may be learning disabled, but he is not mentally retarded.

The testimony by Dr. Bruce Wright was part of a pre-trial hearing in the capital murder case of John Lewis Gerholt, 40, who allegedly shot and killed his wife, Karen, as she took a break from her job at the fast-food restaurant along Route 30.

"It is my opinion, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty ... Mr. Gerholt does not have mental retardation," Wright said.

The testimony was in direct contrast to that given earlier in the day by Dr. Nicholas Brink, who tested Gerholt in 2007, when the defendant was seeking Social Security disability.

Brink said his testing, based on the criteria of Social Security, showed Gerholt is mildly mentally retarded.

The issue of Gerholt's mental capacity was raised earlier this year by defense attorney Thomas Dickey, who cited Constitutional protection that a mentally retarded person cannot be put to death.

Bedford District Attorney William Higgins is seeking the death penalty should Gerholt be convicted of first-degree murder.

Bedford County Senior Judge Daniel Howsare gave each side 10 days to file argument briefs and did not indicate when he will rule on Dickey's motion.

Gerholt is charged with first-degree murder and related charges in the Nov. 9, 2008, death of his wife and mother of two of his children.

Police say he waited in the parking lot until she came out on break and opened fire.











Photo : The murderer John Lewis Gerholt >:(












Anne
"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

PRO DEATH PENALTY AND PROUD OF IT !!!

JE MAINTIENDRAI (MOTTO OF WILLIAM I THE SILENT, PRINCE OF ORANGE, 1533 - 1584, MOTTO OF THE NETHERLANDS)

DEO JUVANTE (MOTTO OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO)

PROUD TO BE BELGIAN !!! I LOVE MY KINGDOM !!!

Offline AnneTheBelgian

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http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/news/state/pennsylvania/138392359.html

Posted: Tue, Jan. 31, 2012, 9:04 AM

Trial set for April in Pa. woman's death at work

The Associated Press

BEDFORD, Pa. - Jury selection for a western Pennsylvania man charged with murdering his wife in the parking lot of the fast-food restaurant where she worked has been set for April.

Forty-year-old John Gerholt Sr. has claimed he accidentally shot his wife, 24-year-old Karen Gerholt, on Nov. 9, 2008, as she left work. Bedford County prosecutors want the death penalty.

Gerholt's trial was to begin in February, but it was postponed because his defense attorney, Thomas Dickey, had to be in Blair County for a double murder trial. That other trial has now been delayed indefinitely by a state Supreme Court appeal so Dickey wants Gerholt's murder trial to for forward by the end of April.

Gerholt still faces separate charges that he forged cemetery documents while in jail so he can eventually be buried next to his late wife.




























Anne

"DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS WHO TWIST THE TRUTH TO PROTECT KILLERS ARE ALSO TORTURING VICTIMS FAMILIES" (PETER BRONSON, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER,FEBRUARY 3, 2003)

PRO DEATH PENALTY AND PROUD OF IT !!!

JE MAINTIENDRAI (MOTTO OF WILLIAM I THE SILENT, PRINCE OF ORANGE, 1533 - 1584, MOTTO OF THE NETHERLANDS)

DEO JUVANTE (MOTTO OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO)

PROUD TO BE BELGIAN !!! I LOVE MY KINGDOM !!!

Offline Kevin R.Hirschkorn

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Re: DP Trial Set for John Gerholt in 2008 PA Murder of Karen Gerholt
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2012, 01:05:44 PM »
Buried is to good for a killer.   Just dump this lump of poop in a septic tank after you pop him in the back of the had with a .22 LR round.
This was designed to hurt....Its a SEAL Candace unless you have been there yo will never understand...