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Life Imprisonment

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NEWS
July 16, 1996 | By Kyle York Spencer, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Delaware County Court Judge Charles C. Keeler sentenced Nathaniel Purnsley yesterday to life imprisonment without parole for the strangulation murder of a 28-year-old nurse's aide - making no comments to Purnsley during the short hearing. Keeler reserved his remarks for the victim's family, many of whom packed the courtroom during the six-day trial last month. "Nothing we can say can bring back Cynthia Patrick," Keeler told family members. " . . . But as far as you are concerned, justice has been done.
NEWS
January 14, 1992 | By Linda Loyd, Inquirer Staff Writer
In a September 1990 slaying that outraged the Russian community in the city's Northeast section, emigre Khaim Eydelman was fatally shot on his first day at work delivering bread. Yesterday, two South Philadelphia men, Carnell Grooms and Michael Rucker, were convicted of killing Eydelman, 47, and sentenced to life in prison by a Common Pleas Court judge. "No money, no money," Eydelman blurted, in Russian, as he struggled with a gunman who fired a .38 revolver once into his chest, testified a witness, Gennady Mereshensykge.
NEWS
April 10, 1999 | By Adrienne Lu, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Jonathon Edward Perry, 38, one of two men charged in the 1997 slaying of an East Nottingham woman, was sentenced yesterday to life imprisonment without parole, the mandatory sentence for second-degree murder in Pennsylvania. Perry, of Cecil County, Md., dressed in a pea-green sweatshirt and jeans, showed little emotion at the pronouncement of the sentence in a Chester County courtroom. He declined to address members of the Weaver family who appeared for the sentencing. Perry was convicted of helping Roger Lee Mattingly, also of Cecil County, in the robbery of Anna Weaver, 79, at her trailer home in East Nottingham.
NEWS
September 5, 1986 | By Mark Bowden, Inquirer Staff Writer
Lawrence W. Lavin, the Devon dentist who masterminded the largest drug conspiracy ever discovered in Philadelphia, was sentenced yesterday by two federal judges to 42 years in prison and $240,000 in fines. At a morning sentencing, U.S. District Judge Louis H. Pollak listened to an impassioned apology from the defendant before sentencing the cocaine dealer to a total of 22 years' imprisonment, five years' probation and a $100,000 fine for his role in creating and managing a cocaine ring that distributed 1,000 kilograms, or 2,200 pounds, of pure Colombian cocaine from 1978 through 1984.
NEWS
September 23, 1990 | By Forrest L. Black, Special to The Inquirer
A 23-year-old Chester man who drove the getaway car after an execution- style slaying on the streets of Chester has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a Delaware County judge. Leroy Ponzo, convicted of first-degree murder by a jury in October, was given the mandatory life sentence on Monday by President Judge William R. Toal Jr. Assistant District Attorney John B. Lynch said Ponzo, of the 500 block of Norris Street, was convicted as an accomplice in the killing of 21-year-old Calvin "Butter" Walls, who was gunned down by James Worley in the 600 block of Edwards Street on March 18, 1989.
NEWS
July 8, 1994 | By Linda Loyd, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
All Betty and Frederick Adams wanted yesterday was to see the young man who had fatally beaten their son, Freddy, in a turf dispute convicted and put behind bars for life. They got their wish. Common Pleas Court Judge Jane C. Greenspan, after hearing four days of testimony, pronounced the defendant, John Aikens, 20, guilty of first-degree murder and promptly sentenced him to life imprisonment. As the judge announced the verdict, the Adams family and friends shouted in jubilation and applauded.
NEWS
February 10, 1995 | by Kurt Heine, Daily News Staff Writer
In the second row, the cop-killer's girlfriend clawed the air and belted out ear-ringing wails. From the standing-room-only crowd in the rear, dozens of men wearing gunbelts and police uniforms whooped and pumped fists in the air like Flyers fans cheering a fight on the ice. In the middle aisle, disabled Police Officer John Marynowitz sobbed loudly, his hand squeezed white by his crying wife's grip. This was supposed to be a Common Pleas courtroom. But a jury's pronouncement yesterday that Borgela Philistin is a first- degree cop murderer evoked a whirlpool of tears, hoots and cheers from the 75 people crammed into the small room.
NEWS
June 18, 1994 | By Aaron Epstein, INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
Expanding the concept of truth in sentencing, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that defense lawyers seeking to prevent a death penalty generally have a right to inform the jury when the alternative of "life imprisonment" really means no parole. The 7-2 ruling casts doubt on the constitutionality of some death sentences in three states - Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia - and is expected to provoke new legal challenges to death penalties in Texas, which leads all states in death-row population.
NEWS
May 18, 2012 | Tom Infield
Melanie Ann Ray, accused of participating with her boyfriend in the shooting death of another man to steal his truck, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Wednesday in Chester County Court. "She decided to accept responsibility," said her lawyer, Alexander Silow of West Chester. Ray, 26, of Polk in northwestern Pennsylvania, was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, Silow said. She was charged in the Aug. 7 death of Andre J. Dupuis, 32, of Aston.
NEWS
March 30, 1990 | By Kurt Heine, Daily News Staff Writer
A killer who stabbed two Islamic scholars to death in their Cheltenham Township home four years ago gets another chance to cheat the electric chair - because a jury wrote his death sentence on a wrongly worded form. The form included the word "unanimously" where it shouldn't have. And because of that simple blunder, the state Supreme Court yesterday threw out Joseph L. Young's death sentence and ordered the Montgomery County Court to take another whack at sentencing him. The Supreme Court upholds Young's first-degree murder conviction for the May 1986 stabbing deaths of Isma'il and Lois al-Faruqui, who were attacked in their home.
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NEWS
March 5, 2014
The demagoguery of politicians exploiting the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner to score points toward their next election is blatant and sickening. Among them is Sen. Pat Toomey, who has joined those vigorously opposing the nomination of civil rights attorney Debo Adegbile to head the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. It would be hard to find a better candidate for the position than Adegbile. But Toomey (R., Pa.), Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, and others say he should be disqualified because he was the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's director of litigation when the organization advocated on behalf of Faulkner's killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal, during appeals of his conviction.
NEWS
June 27, 2013 | BY JESSICA GLAZER, Daily News Staff Writer glazerj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5915
KERMIT GOSNELL, the abortion doctor convicted in May of killing three babies born alive by cutting their spines, pleaded not guilty to federal drug charges yesterday, reversing his earlier guilty plea and thus forfeiting a deal offered by the prosecution. If Gosnell, 72, had pleaded guilty to illegally prescribing thousands of painkillers - including OxyContin and Xanax - he would have served 20 years concurrent to time he already is serving: three life sentences for first-degree murder.
NEWS
June 22, 2013 | By Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
A 21-year-old Delaware County man will spend the rest of his life in prison for the 2011 hit-and-run deaths of two Collingdale teenagers. Maurquis Javon Thompson of Chester, sentenced Friday in Delaware County Court, was on probation for drug offenses and was driving without a license the night of Dec. 9, 2011. He ran a red light in Glenolden and slammed into Michael J. Taylor and Mark McNeill, both 15, as they crossed Chester Pike. The teens had just walked two girls home. Taylor, whose body smashed into the windshield, died at the scene.
NEWS
December 5, 2012 | By Jan Hefler, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
After several twists and about-faces, the murder case against Stephen Headley effectively ended Tuesday when he agreed to accept a potential 50-year prison term for fatally stabbing a South Jersey woman two years ago. Flanked by family and friends of Nicole Ayres, 22, an ace high school and college softball pitcher, the Southampton man calmly pleaded guilty to the Sept. 13, 2010, attack and told a judge he understood he likely would serve at least 421/2 years without parole. Counting time served, Headley, 30, would be over 70 before he could be released.
NEWS
September 13, 2012 | BY DANA DiFILIPPO, Daily News Staff Writer
NEARLY THREE months after the U.S. Supreme Court declared mandatory life-without-parole sentences unconstitutional for minors, the state's Supreme Court justices heard suggestions for what to do about the 500 inmates already serving that sentence. But the only thing clear after Wednesday's 90-minute hearing at City Hall: There's no easy answer. A ruling could take months. The issue is huge in Pennsylvania, which leads the nation - and the world - in the number of juveniles it condemns to prison for life.
NEWS
May 18, 2012 | Tom Infield
Melanie Ann Ray, accused of participating with her boyfriend in the shooting death of another man to steal his truck, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Wednesday in Chester County Court. "She decided to accept responsibility," said her lawyer, Alexander Silow of West Chester. Ray, 26, of Polk in northwestern Pennsylvania, was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, Silow said. She was charged in the Aug. 7 death of Andre J. Dupuis, 32, of Aston.
NEWS
December 10, 2011 | By Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Philadelphia man who was found guilty of carjacking a Russian immigrant in Frankford and killing her five hours later in a Burlington County field was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 40 years Friday. Superior Court Judge Jeanne T. Covert said Lenroy Laurance, 29, would not be eligible for parole until he has served at least 94 years for the Sept. 2, 2009, murder, carjacking, kidnapping, and robbery of Lyudmila Burshteyn. The 57-year-old naturalized citizen was sitting in her parked car, a new Nissan Murano, when four men, including Laurance, approached her and ordered her to lie on the floor in the back of the vehicle.
NEWS
December 9, 2011 | By Jan Hefler, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Philadelphia man who was found guilty of carjacking a Russian immigrant in Frankford and then killing her five hours later in a Burlington County field was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 40 years Friday. State Superior Court Judge Jeanne T. Covert said that Lenroy Laurance, 29, won't be eligible for parole until he has served at least 94 years for the Sept. 2, 2009, murder, carjacking, kidnapping, and robbery of Lyudmila Burshteyn. The 57-year-old naturalized citizen was sitting in her parked, new Nissan Murano, when four men, including Laurance, approached her and ordered her to lie on the floor in the back of the vehicle.
NEWS
January 4, 2008
There's more to homicide rate than location I read the Dec. 30 article "In Camden, a puzzling increase in homicides" and was particularly interested in the chart showing the homicide rates for selected cities. I feel that some additional information should be included when compiling such a list: a breakdown of the demographics. If the statistics about race, median income, unemployment rates, welfare recipients, education levels, renters vs. homeowners, the percentage of single-parent families, etc., were included, it might allow readers the chance to evaluate what could be causing the homicide increase.
NEWS
October 31, 2007 | By Dwight Ott INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Before a courtroom packed with blue uniforms and stone-faced family members yesterday, the man who killed a beloved police officer in a barroom ambush last year pleaded guilty to murder. Before being sentenced to life imprisonment - thus avoiding the death penalty - Solomon Montgomery, 25, apologized to the family of Officer Gary Skerski, 46, the father of two children. He singled out Skerski's wife, Anne, for "taking a stand" and "having the courage" to agree to the plea deal.
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