A district attorney is asking five adults charged with torturing and killing a mentally disabled woman to make a case for why they should not face the death penalty.
Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said he’ll decide whether to pursue capital punishment when the suspects are formally arraigned April 23.
They are accused in the killing of 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty on Feb. 10.
One of six suspects is 17 and, though she is being prosecuted as if she were an adult, she cannot be put to death because of her age.
Investigators say the suspects forced Daugherty to drink urine and detergent and write a suicide note before killing her and dumping her body in a school parking lot in Greensburg.
Man gets life in prison for daughter’s death
PITTSBURGH – A Pittsburgh-area man will spend life in prison for leaving his
23-month-old daughter out in the snow to die because jurors couldn’t agree on his punishment.
The Allegheny County jury notified a judge Thursday that members couldn’t unanimously agree whether 26-year-old William Page should be sentenced to death or life without parole. Jurors were split 9-3 for death.
Jurors convicted Page of first-degree murder Monday in Nyia Page’s 2007 death.
Authorities say he left her out in the snow near their Braddock home because he was angry that she kept removing her diaper. Police said tiny footprints in the snow suggest the girl walked around before she died.
Page says he’s innocent and didn’t get a fair trial.
Mixed verdict in sex-for-tickets case
DOYLESTOWN – A Phila-delphia woman accused of offering sexual favors for World Series tickets has been found not guilty of prostitution, but guilty of attempted prostitution.
Forty-four-year-old Susan Finkelstein took the stand earlier Thursday during her trial in Bucks County Court. She said she placed an ad with sexual overtones, but that she’s not a prostitute.
Authorities allege Finkelstein met with an undercover Bensalem police officer in October and offered to perform sexual acts in exchange for tickets to the World Series between the Phillies and New York Yankees.
Finkelstein said she placed a “goofy” ad on Craigslist and she did hope to use her “feminine wiles” to get tickets. But she said she never offered sexual favors as part of the bargaining.
Allegations against Corbett delay hearing
HARRISBURG – Former state Rep. Steve Stetler’s scheduled hearing Friday on corruption charges has been postponed so Attorney General Tom Corbett can respond to court documents alleging prosecutorial misconduct, according to published reports.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Thursday that Joshua Lock, attorney for Stetler and former state Rep. Brett Feese, wants criminal charges dropped against both men and wants Corbett’s office barred from prosecuting their cases.
In court documents, Lock argued that Corbett used public money to campaign for governor and for re-election as attorney general even as his office was investigating similar conduct by others including Stetler and Feese.
“When you don’t have a plausible defense, you accuse your accuser,” Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said.
Stetler, a York Democrat, and Feese, a Lycoming Republican, are among 25 charged since July 2008 in the ongoing government corruption investigation known as Bonusgate.
Lincoln library partially reopens
OXFORD – Lincoln University students – who have not had access to the campus library for more than two years – now have partial use of the facility.
Grant Venerable, the school’s vice president for academic affairs, said the library reopened last week for limited hours through April.
The Langston Hughes Memorial Library closed in 2008 for $17 million in renovations.
After finishing one phase, Lincoln kept the building closed for logistical reasons while awaiting second-phase funding.
Venerable said Wednesday the library would close again in May, after commencement, to finish the renovations.
Penn Cambria, union ratify contract
CRESSON – Penn Cambria School District and the Penn Cambria Educational Support Personnel Association, the local union representing the district’s 90 custodians, secretaries aides and other support staff, ratified a four-year contract Thursday.
The contract takes effect
July 1, Wage increases average 50 cents an hour for the first two years of the contract and 45 cents the final two years, said Mary Beth Whited, district superintendent.
She said the district compared data from other districts in the region and found that its wages generally were lower, so the district needed to increase its workers’ rates to be competitive with other districts
She said the contract works out well for the district and the employees.
School board President George Pyo and union President Donna Shedlock commended everyone involved in negotiations for reaching an agreement that was fair to both sides.
Local girl is finalist in ketchup contest
FORT HILL – Kira Nixon, a seventh grader from Fort Hill in Somerset County, is one of 36 finalists in the 2010 Heinz Ketchup Creativity Contest.
She is the daughter of James and Lynda Nixon of Fort Hill Road.
Contestants in the third annual contest drew colorful pictures illustrating Heinz ketchup bottles. The grand prize winner’s artwork will appear on Heinz ketchup bottles in stores across the country.
Winners will be announced in April, a Heinz spokeswoman said.
Workshop offers help starting food business
SOMERSET – A Food for Profit workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 1 at the Penn State Cooperative Extension office, 6024 Glades Pike, Suite 101, Somerset.
Information on starting a food business in the home will be discussed.
Guest speakers will share stories on how they got started.
A fee will cover lunch and materials. To register by Monday, call the extension office at 445-8911, ext. 7.
Route 22 restrictions to begin Monday
EBENSBURG – Prime contractor Grannas Bros. Stone & Asphalt Co. Inc. will begin an $8.1 million road rehabilitation project on 2.75 miles of Route 22 in Cambria Township on Monday.
Beginning Monday, between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., traffic will be restricted to a single lane in each direction on Route 22 between Wilmore Road and Pensacola Road.
The restrictions, that will last about one week, are necessary to prepare the road for long-term lane closures for the duration of the project.
The overall work consists of long-term lane closures for concrete patching, paving, drainage and guiderail upgrades of Route 22 from Wilmore Road to Pensacola.
This project also includes the rehabilitation of two structures and work on the Route 22/219 interchange ramps. Along with the long-term closures, there will be intermittent nighttime traffic restrictions to perform some operations.
Work is expected to be done by mid-October.