Tanya Dacri Asks For A New Lawyer

Posted: December 19, 1989

Tanya Dacri, the 21-year-old mother serving a life sentence for drowning and dismembering her 7-week-old son, Zacharry, has fired her attorney and wants somebody else to represent her.

Dacri asked Common Pleas Judge Michael Stiles yesterday to remove court- appointed attorney Samuel Stretton from her case because of what she said was his "ineffectiveness as trial counsel."

Stretton said he didn't want to drop the case and said Dacri's request reflects the "nature of her illness."

"One day I'm the good lawyer, and one day I'm the bad lawyer," said Stretton. "I have been fired numerous times by Tanya Dacri, but I've never been taken off the case."

Dacri said she wants attorney John Elbert to represent her. The judge, however, gave no indication whether he would appoint Elbert or another lawyer, or leave Stretton on the case. He scheduled another hearing on the issue for Feb. 13.

Dacri pleaded guilty to murder in the January 1989 slaying of her baby. Stiles ruled that the slaying was first-degree and sentenced her to life imprisonment.

Stretton has appealed the conviction and said Dacri may consider asking the judge to let her withdraw her guilty plea so she can stand trial.

Her husband, Phillip, who is free on bail while awaiting his sentence for

helping his wife dump their slain son's body parts in various waterways, attended yesterday's hearing.

He and his wife smiled and chatted with each other during lulls in the proceeding.


Kingsley Rowe, 20, of Hoffman Street near 5th, was sentenced yesterday to 8 to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to third-degree murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend on Thanksgiving Day 1988.

Rowe claimed he shot Raenelle Cerdan, 20, in the back of the head while ''playing" with a pistol.

Before imposing the sentence, Common Pleas Judge Lynne M. Abraham spoke of the city's record number of homicides involving handguns and told Rowe, "If I could, I would throw them all in the oven, melt them down, and use the steel for the construction of homes."

Assistant District Attorney John Carpenter argued that the shooting was intentional. He said Rowe disposed of the weapon and concealed the ammunition clip after the shooting.

Abraham also sentenced Rowe to five years' probation for weapons violations. The probation begins after his release from prison.

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