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Death Penalty

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.
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.
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