January 10, 1990 |
The final chapter to a duel under a warm June sun was written in Chester County Court yesterday, as a 22-year-old man was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison for killing his former girlfriend's lover. Jason Jaye Welles pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and aggravated assault for the shotgun slaying in the middle of a Phoenixville street as neighbors looked on. Witnesses told police that Welles shot Michael Brockerman four times with a 12-gauge shotgun about 4:40 p.m. on June 6, the last three blasts coming as the 24-year-old Pottstown man lay prone on the street.
May 15, 2011 |
Year after year, polls show that about 60 percent of U.S. citizens support executing people convicted of murder. Until those citizens become jurors. An Inquirer analysis of almost 2,000 Pennsylvania homicide cases filed between Jan. 1, 2007, and Feb. 3 shows that just 3 percent of first-degree murder cases - the only charge for which capital punishment is possible - that went to a jury ended with the jury's choosing death. A third of all first-degree murder cases ended with a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole, the remainder with guilty verdicts on lesser degrees of homicide, guilty pleas, acquittals, or dismissal of charges.
October 22, 2004 |
A former college football player at Lock Haven University was sentenced to life in prison because a jury could not agree on whether he deserved the death penalty for murdering the brother of an Olympic wrestler. The jury voted 7-5 in favor of the death penalty yesterday for Fabian Desmond Smart, of Clyo, Ga. Death sentences require a unanimous decision in Pennsylvania. Smart was convicted last week of the January 1999 murder of Jason McMann, the older brother of Olympic wrestler Sara McMann.
April 23, 2013 |
The death penalty is very much in play in the Boston bomber case, even though Massachusetts is one of more than a dozen states without capital punishment. The surviving bombing suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was charged today, not under state law, but under federal law for using a weapon of mass destruction and for malicious destruction of property resulting in death. The Justice Department said that, if convicted, Tsarnaev could face the federal death penalty. Although such executions are rare, there are 59 people on federal death row. The final decision to seek the ultimate penalty belongs to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, as was explained by Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, following Tsarnaev's capture Friday night.
March 2, 2005 |
Justina Morley, the 15-year-old who lured a Fishtown teenager to his death in 2003, began to cry yesterday as she demonstrated how her alleged accomplices attacked Jason Sweeney with a hatchet and a hammer. Morley, now 16, testified that she feels remorse for the brutal slaying and for luring Sweeney to his death with the promise of sex. But in a jailhouse letter to Domenic Coia, one of the defendants, Morley wrote: "I am guilty. But I still don't feel guilty for anything.
July 1, 2011 |
Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner said he found the conclusion unfathomable: that a mother, however destitute, could purposely starve to death her infant over two months. But that is for a jury to decide, Lerner said Thursday in denying a defense request to remove first-degree murder from the charges against Tanya Williams, 33, accused of fatally starving one of her twin boys last year while they lived in a West Philadelphia homeless shelter. Defense attorney Gregory J. Pagano argued that at best, the case was third-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter, not first-degree - the premeditated and malicious killing of another.
January 21, 1993 |
The West Philadelphia food store owner was not only the cousin of a jailed enemy of the Junior Black Mafia, he was also the object of affection of a female companion of JBM boss Aaron Jones. That put Bruce Kennedy, 26, in serious jeopardy, a prosecutor said. And on Aug. 18, 1990, two enforcers of the drug syndicate pumped 10 bullets into him with an Uzi as he was making a steak sandwich at Kennedy's Mommie's Food Market, 54th Street near Master. Yesterday, a jury convicted Jones, 30, and two henchmen, Sam Brown, 29, and James Anderson, 21, of first-degree murder.
April 26, 2013 |
READING - A federal judge has thrown out the death penalty given to an Pennsylvania man who's spent 15 years on death row. District Judge Anita Brody also overturned Shawnfatee Bridges' murder conviction because prosecutors did not provide the defense with police records that could have impeached a key witness. Bridges had been found guilty of the 1996 drug-related slayings of Reading cousins Damon and Gregory Banks. Brody overturned the death penalty because the defense didn't call an expert psychiatric witness during the sentencing hearing.
October 3, 2006
I AGREE with letter- writer Lynn Thistlewood about the death penalty. My father was killed 28 years ago at his place of business. Our family life was destroyed by this. He was only 49 years young. The killers got life in prison. Big deal. They should have died the way my father did. Nancy Branca Philadelphia