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Death Penalty

NEWS
January 31, 2015 | By Laura McCrystal, Inquirer Staff Writer
MILFORD, Pa. - He eluded police for nearly two months, and has been jailed for three more. But the death-penalty trial for Eric Frein could still be more than a year away. On Thursday, Frein pleaded not guilty to charges he plotted the ambush that killed one state trooper and wounded a second last September in nearby Blooming Grove. It was his first court appearance since prosecutors officially declared they would seek the death penalty against him. In a brief court appearance via video feed from the Pike County prison, the self-styled survivalist remained expressionless and responded politely to County Court Judge Gregory H. Chelak.
NEWS
January 29, 2015 | By Laura McCrystal, Inquirer Staff Writer
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Eric Frein, the man accused of shooting two Pennsylvania state troopers in Pike County in September. Though Pike County District Attorney Raymond J. Tonkin had said he intended to seek the death penalty in the case, he made it official by filing a formal notice in court Tuesday. "We anticipated that he would file the notice seeking the death penalty, and so it's not a surprise," said Michael Weinstein, one of Frein's court-appointed attorneys.
NEWS
January 2, 2015 | By Michaelle Bond, Inquirer Staff Writer
Growing up, Carol Houck said, she was verbally, physically, and sexually abused. She was too frightened to tell anyone what was happening. Although she suspected her neighbors knew something was not right, she never got the rescue she hoped for. "I wanted someone to speak up for me. No one spoke up for me," said Houck, 57. "I'm alive and well, and Scotty isn't. So I wanted to speak up. " Houck and about 20 other demonstrators stood outside the Chester County Justice Center on Wednesday morning to try to raise awareness about child abuse.
NEWS
December 24, 2014 | BY JENNY DeHUFF, Daily News Staff Writer dehuffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
JEAN McINTOSH, daughter of alleged Philadelphia dungeon-master Linda Weston, has pleaded guilty in federal court to myriad crimes ranging from racketeering to forced human labor to kidnapping resulting in death. She is one of five defendants charged in the criminal case of Weston, who allegedly lured vulnerable and mentally disabled victims to her home and kept them locked and starved in the basement while collecting their Social Security disability benefits. The guilty plea was made quietly in court Monday, with both McIntosh's defense attorney and the federal prosecutors in the case declining to comment.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
November 24, 2014 | By Michaelle Bond, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
November 9, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
November 4, 2014 | By Laura McCrystal and Ben Finley, Inquirer Staff Writers
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.
NEWS
November 1, 2014 | By Laura McCrystal and Mike Newall, Inquirer Staff Writers
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.
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