November 29, 2014
ISSUE | PUNISHMENT Fiscally prudent tact: Scrap death row Gov. Corbett last week signed an execution warrant for the man convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer in a 1996 bank robbery. Putting aside moral and ethical concerns, and the possibility in some cases of executing an innocent person, plus the fact that the death penalty does not deter murder, the state cannot afford the luxury of wasting millions on these capital cases. The death penalty is more expensive - actually, 10 times more expensive - than a sentence of life without parole.
November 24, 2014 |
Dawn Wells is the mother of two young boys, one of whom will turn 3 in February. It is the same age Scott McMillan was when, police say, he was beaten to death nearly three weeks ago by his mother and her boyfriend in their home in Chester County. At her home in Nova Scotia, Canada, Wells heard about the case through social media. "It doesn't matter what part of the world you're from, everyone's affected by this," she said. "It just broke my heart. " She wanted to do something for McMillan and his 6-year-old brother, who police say also was abused.
November 9, 2014 |
When condemned fugitive Joseph Kindler was returned to Philadelphia in 1991 after two escapes, three years on the lam in Canada and four fighting extradition, the news was grim. Prosecutors argued - and Pennsylvania judges agreed - that by fleeing, Kindler had forfeited his rights to appeal his death sentence for the 1982 beating and drowning of a witness against him in a burglary case. Kindler's lawyers fought that issue to the U.S. Supreme Court and back until 2011, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ordered that Kindler get a new death-penalty hearing or be sentenced to life in prison.
November 4, 2014 |
Eric Frein will get a legal team with decades of murder trial experience, including a lawyer who has both prosecuted and defended death penalty cases. The Pike County Public Defender's Office on Monday confirmed that a judge had appointed Robert Bernathy and Michael Weinstein to represent Frein, the alleged killer of a state trooper, who was captured Thursday after a 48-day manhunt in the Poconos. Weinstein confirmed that he was appointed at a rate of $178 an hour and that he met Monday with Frein in prison.
November 1, 2014 |
HAWLEY, Pa. - Eric Frein, the suspected cop-killer who for six weeks was the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law enforcement officers, surrendered Thursday after being discovered in an open field near an abandoned airplane hangar, officials said. At a late-night news conference, Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin said Frein would be charged with murder, homicide of a law enforcement officer, attempted murder, and possession of weapons of mass destruction.
October 16, 2014 |
A Montgomery County Court jury Tuesday sentenced a King of Prussia man to death for murdering a baby and her grandmother in a 2012 kidnapping plot that went horribly wrong. Jurors convicted 28-year-old Raghunandan Yandamuri of first-degree murder last week in the stabbing death of Satyavathi Venna, 61, and the suffocation death of her 10-month-old granddaughter, Saanvi Venna. The jury, which deliberated for about 31/2 hours Tuesday, could have chosen to sentence Yandamuri to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
October 9, 2014 |
A Norristown man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday after admitting he stabbed his childhood friend nearly two dozen times and set his body afire in a Chester County apartment - all for $350. Prosecutors had initially sought the death penalty for 22-year-old Shakeem Carter for the February 2013 murder of 17-year-old Kevin Allen. "I just hope that monster, for the rest of his life, wakes up in the morning with the same fear that Kevin had in the last five or 10 minutes of his life," the victim's aunt, Pearline Allen, sobbed during the hearing in West Chester.
September 28, 2014 |
In the four months before the slayings of a 10-month-old and her grandmother in their King of Prussia apartment in 2012, accused killer Raghunandan Yandamuri went to a local casino 55 times, prosecutors said Friday - 30 times in the month before the slayings. Montgomery County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Yandamuri, 28, a former information technology worker, who is on trial in Montgomery County Court in the stabbing death of Satayrathi Venna, 61, and suffocation of her granddaughter, Saanvi Venna.
September 17, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The civil rights lawyer whose path to a prominent post in the Obama administration was blocked by connections to the Mumia Abu-Jamal case has withdrawn as a nominee and joined a high-profile law firm. Debo Adegbile, whose nomination to lead the Justice Department's civil rights division was derailed in March by a charged Senate vote, has joined Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr L.L.P. as a partner, the firm announced Monday. In an interview, Adegbile defended his work on Abu-Jamal's case, which drew a chorus of criticism led by Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.)