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Death Penalty

NEWS
November 1, 2014 | By Laura McCrystal, Ben Finley, and Mike Newall, Inquirer Staff Writers
HAWLEY, Pa. - Eric Frein, the captured suspected cop-killer who for six weeks was the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law enforcement officers, on Friday was ordered held without bail on murder charges. Frein, his hair slicked back and sporting a goatee and bruises on the cheeks, nose, and eyes, answered politely as Pike County District Judge Shannon Muir asked if he understood the charges against him and the purpose of the arraignment in the packed, one-room 19th Century courthouse.
NEWS
October 16, 2014 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
October 9, 2014 | Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
September 28, 2014 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
September 17, 2014 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
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.)
NEWS
August 9, 2014 | By Carolyn Davis, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office dropped plans Thursday to pursue the death penalty in the trial of an Upper Merion man accused of killing his parents and twin brother in 2011. Prosecutors withdrew the death-penalty notice after Joseph McAndrew Jr. waived a jury trial and agreed to have his case heard by a judge. McAndrew, 27, contends that he was insane when he used a sword to stab his father, landscaping business owner Joseph McAndrew Sr.; his mother, Susan; and brother James in their Holstein Road home in March 2011.
NEWS
July 31, 2014
It's doubtful that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, would approve of the civil rights organization's efforts to block a measure that would provide an alternative for poor defendants who can't afford bail. Legislation in Trenton would also close a loophole created when New Jersey abolished the death penalty in 2007. Previously, judges could deny bail in death penalty cases, but the end of capital punishment means that even defendants accused of the most heinous crimes are eligible to post bail.
NEWS
July 30, 2014
ISSUE | DEATH PENALTY Different tack, same conclusion In suggesting that the justice system has been "manipulated into coddling its worst offenders at the expense of victims' loved ones," Michael Smerconish misses two important points ("Death delayed is injustice," July 27). First, all victims' relatives do not see the death penalty the same way. Many understand that a death sentence will not provide them the closure that capital punishment advocates claim. (A co-signer of this letter whose daughter was murdered is among them.)
NEWS
July 11, 2014 | By Erin McCarthy, Inquirer Staff Writer
Terry Rumsey fights for gun safety. Before that, it was mental health reform. And reducing homelessness. And fair voting laws. And ending the death penalty. "The thread between all the work I've done is a belief in nonviolence," said Rumsey, 59, of Media. His current crusade is universal background checks on gun sales. Rumsey and Robin Lasersohn, 48, his wife and business partner, created Delaware County United for Sensible Gun Policy after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
NEWS
June 16, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
THE FATE of a federal death-row inmate, who strangled his cellmate in a central Pennsylvanian penitentiary 18 years ago and who has made national headlines, is now in the hands of a federal judge in Philadelphia. David Paul Hammer, an Oklahoma native who is housed on death row in the U.S. penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., has been appearing via video link in a Philadelphia courtroom for a resentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Joel Slomsky during the last two weeks. His death sentence was vacated by a different judge in 2005.
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