Category: PA Prisons



As 2015 winds down we find ourselves looking forward to 2016. So much has happened this past year but here at ATCMC there have been huge changes as well. First and foremost we relocated our offices back to our hometown. It was a much needed change and we also streamlined our staff to improve efficiency. Many creative changes were made and we no longer go through a 3rd party for approval of a post. Now we can just sit down and let it fly, so to speak.

So today, as I sat at my computer deciding on a post, I poured a glass of Boones Farm wine, and put Mot the Hoople on the 8-Track player. I figured that I could tackle so many subjects because it has been such an eventful year. I just decided to keep it simple. I wanted to end the year quietly and calmly. I saw no reason for a flourish. We here at ATCMC have been pretty preoccupied with court dates and other things that the creative juices have remained untapped.

 

govwolf2

Governor Tom Wolf

There is still no budget in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania but never fear, our state lawmakers got their raises and welfare remains just as strong as ever. Those pesky things like Education, Social Security and other silly things will just have to wait for the petulance to end. I mean how important are those last 2 I mentioned? Geeze, if our State Lawmakers can’t get paid and get their cost of living raises, how could we ever expect them to function for those who elected them?

 

heidnik001

Condemned killer Gary Heidnik

There is still a moratorium on executions in the Commonwealth as well. I agree. It is better to spend the money to house them and maintain the special living conditions then to carry out the sentence. Now, before I go any further I will once again state my position on the Death Penalty. I believe that if you are going to carry it on the books then you should use it. However, the last execution in the Commonwealth was in 1999 when Gary Heidnik was execute by lethal injection.

 

My feeling is that it is ridiculous to ceremoniously sentence someone to death with no intention of carrying out the sentence. Not to mention, there is an increased cost in housing a death row inmate. Let’s just concede the fact that Pennsylvania will never perform another execution and just remove the law from the books, change the sentencing guidelines and save the taxpayers of Pennsylvania a little money. I know, it does sound crazy.

 

We could continue, but I figured I’d stay close to home. I mean, where would I start? Benghazi is still in the forefront, the federal government is trying to disarm it’s citizens while supplying weaponry to less-than-friendlies. We can’t take care of our own homeless, including our veterans, but we will open our borders to anyone and everyone. I mean, how does it make sense to fine your citizens for not having healthcare but the program itself has driven up costs to the point that companies have had to lay off to meet the requirements?

 

I pray each night before I lay my head down on my Star Wars sheets that 2016 will be better than 2015. I know for us here at ATCMC we are delving into new areas with Fatt Katt Video Production as well as continuing to write posts here. We made some really good changes this year with staffing so we are looking forward to some great things. As always we thank all of our readers and promise a little more production in 2016.

 

We also pray for our troops still fighting overseas and hope at some point we stop playing the world’s police and take care of our own backyard first. I know my opinions are unpopular with some but those of you who really know me know I am apolitical with no real views on much. I just like to speak, sometimes with no filter. If I have offended anyone I’m sorry. Sorry you don’t have thicker skin. Sorry, I have also vowed this year to be a little kinder.

 

No matter how things shake out for the rest of the year, it is almost over. 2016 is a chance for some of us to hit the reset button and get a fresh start. I look forward to the new friendships I have made over the past year, the old friends I have reconnected with and, if I can steal a line from a 90’s song, “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades…” From all of us here at ATCMC, have a great New Year, stay safe and let’s end the hate. Some people thrive on making others miserable. Geeze, and they call me crazy.


Gary Heidnik Executed 7-99

Gary Heidnik
Executed 7-99

Terrance Williams 11th Hour stay

Terrance Williams
11th Hour reprieve

Last week, Governor Tom Wolf granted a temporary reprieve to inmate Terrance Williams was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die for senselessly murdering Amos Norwood with a tire iron during a robbery. Williams was formally sentenced July 1, 1987. Williams had already been convicted of murder and robbery in two separate cases at the time of his 1986 trial. He was scheduled to die by lethal injection on March 4th of 2015. Wolf also vowed to grant other reprieves in essence declaring a moratorium on executions in the Keystone State. Williams would have been the first involuntary execution since 1978. There have been three other executions in the state but the last 3 have given up their appeals. The last one was Gary Heidnik in 1999. Heidnik, you may remember, from a previous post, was convicted for kidnapping  5 women near Philadelphia, sexually assaulting them, chaining them in his basement and killing 2 of them. To add to the unsettling nature of his crimes, the women he killed were chopped up in his food processor and fed them to the remaining captives. Did he deserve to die? The courts thought so.

I have a hard time listening to some of the tree hugging whiners bitching just because they can. Some people jump on the band wagon with no real conviction either way. The death penalty has always been a touchy subject with different groups. There are those on both sides of this who make good arguments. I am not going to say how I feel about this until I have finished my thought process. I will present arguments for both sides so please bear with me here.

If we want to talk about the justification for the death penalty then here we go.

George Banks Mass Murderer

George Banks
Mass Murderer

George Emil Banks was sentenced to death by electrocution, but later declared by the court to be too psychotic to execute. Banks, a former Camp Hill prison guard, shot 13 people to death on September 25, 1982 in Wilkes-Barre City and Jenkins Township, Pennsylvania, including five of his own children.

Banks said he killed his children because he felt they would be tormented by the cruelty of racial views against mixed race children. Since his conviction, Banks has tried to kill himself four times and has gone on hunger strikes that required him to be force-fed. A psychiatric report filed in the case says Banks believes he is in a spiritual fight with an Antichrist in New York, that Pennsylvania was controlled by the Islamic religion and he has engaged in a “private war with President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky”.

November 29, 1990, the Pennsylvania State Legislature barred further use of the electric chair amidst debate that electrocution was cruel and unusual punishment and approved lethal injection. December 2, 2004, Banks received a stay of execution. May 12, 2010, Banks was declared incompetent to be executed by Luzerne County Judge Joseph Augello following a week-long competency hearing held the previous month.

Victims

Killed:

  1. Sharon Mazzillo (24) – Former girlfriend of George Banks who was engaged in a custody dispute over their son, Kissmayu Banks. Gunshot wound to the chest.

  2. Kissmayu Banks (5) – The son of Sharon Mazzillo and George Banks. Gunshot wound to the face.

  3. Scott Mazzillo (7) – Nephew of Sharon Mazzillo. Kicked, hit with the rifle butt, killed with a gunshot wound to the face.

  4. Alice Mazzillo (47) – Sharon Mazzillo’s mother. Shot in the face while on the phone with police.

  5. Regina Clemens (29) – Girlfriend of George Banks. Gunshot wound to the face.

  6. Montanzima Banks (6) – The daughter of Regina Clemens and George Banks. Gunshot wound to the heart.

  7. Susan Yuhas (23) – Girlfriend of George Banks, sister of Regina Clemens. Gunshot wound to the head.

  8. Boende Banks (4) – The son of Susan Yuhas and George Banks. Gunshot wound to the face.

  9. Mauritania Banks (20 months) – Daughter of Susan Yuhas and George Banks. Gunshot wound to the face.

  10. Dorothy Lyons (29) – Girlfriend of George Banks. Gunshot wound to the neck.

  11. Nancy Lyons (11) – Daughter of Dorothy Lyons. Gunshot would to the head.

  12. Foraroude Banks (1) – The son of Dorothy Lyons and George Banks. Gunshot wound to the head.

  13. Raymond F. Hall Jr. (24) – Bystander who had been attending a party across the street. Gunshot wound to the liver and kidney.

Survived:

  1. Keith Mazzillo (13) – Hid in a closet while he watched his grandmother Alice die due to a gun shot wound to the head.

  2. Angelo Mazzillo (10) – Hid under the bed where his grandmother Alice died.

  3. James Olsen (22) – Survived a gun shot wound to the chest.

  4. Unidentified Man that Banks car jacked at gun point.

All of that seems like enough to say; “Yep, throw the switch, this guy needs to go.” But if you look at the whole picture, there seems to be a mental issue at work here. Look at what he had attempted since being convicted. Now he has been declared incompetent to be executed. Also I must say, pretty vile. It was a horrific killing that rocked the area.

Harvey Robinson Serial Killer

Harvey Robinson
Serial Killer

Harvey Miguel Robinson is a prisoner on death row. He is thought to be one of the youngest serial killers in history. He is also the first serial killer in the history of Allentown, Pennsylvania. Robinson was only 19 yrs. old when he was arrested.

He raped & killed 3 women who are:

Joan Burghardt, a 29-year-old nurse’s aide (August 1992)

Charlotte Schmoyer, a 15-year-old newspaper carrier (June 1993)

Jessica Jean Fortney, a 47-year-old grandmother (July 1993)

His fourth victim, a woman named Denise Sam-Cali was raped and beaten but escaped alive. Robinson returned to Denise’s house and a waiting police officer exchanged gunfire with him. Robinson was tracked to a local hospital where he was arrested. Right now, Robinson’s death sentence has been stayed. (as of April 2006).

Okay, case #2 where the punishment seems to fit the crime. It’s really hard to find another punishment for this type or crime but is there?

John Lesko "Kill for Thrill"

John Lesko
“Kill for Thrill”

Michael Travaglia "Kill for Thrill"

Michael Travaglia
“Kill for Thrill”

John Lesko and Michael Travaglia Were convicted in 1981 for the “Kill for Thrill” murder spree that rocked Western Pennsylvania in December of 1979 and January 1980. They began their spree 2 days after Christmas in 1979 when they kidnapped a 56 year old male outside the Edison Hotel in Pittsburgh. They drove the victim in his stolen car to just outside Saltsburg, Pa. When the trio exited the vehicle to urinate, Lesko shot the victim point-blank in the head. The second victim was killed in the early hours of New Years morning 1980. The 26-year-old female picked the pair up hitch hiking back to Pittsburgh. They placed her in the back seat then shot and killed her. They dumped the car with the victim in a parking garage in Pittsburgh.

Victim 3 was kidnapped in Pittsburgh on January 3rd, 1980. He was a 31-year-old male that the pair savagely beat. Then they drove him Indiana County where they bound his hands and feet. Stuffed his clothes with rocks and threw him into Blue Spruce Lake where he drowned. The pair kept the victim’s car and drove to Apollo, Pa where they passed a 21-year-old police officer on his third shift for the Apollo Police department. They sped past Officer Miller several times trying to incite a vehicle pursuit. When Officer Miller pulled the pair over a short time later, he was shot several times while approaching the vehicle. Mortally wounded, Officer Miller retreated to his vehicle where he returned fire and radioed for back up. Fortunately, they were apprehended a short time later.

Now more to this case. I think this is the case that has a lot of people shouting foul. Not because of the fact they were convicted and sentenced but the fact that between them they have managed to clog up the court system with 14 appeals. It is far to many for anyone. It makes one wonder; how many times does a person or persons need to be convicted and sentenced for the same crime before we realize, “Hey, they might actually be guilty.” However, that is not the point of this so far. I said I would give 2 sides to the Death Penalty argument. These last three cases are just one side of the argument. They show heinous crimes that warranted the convicted to be sentenced to death.

The other side of the argument; the side that says it is wrong to put someone to death. Then we get in to Scripture. Supporters of the Death Penalty will site certain passages like the three below to support their argument.

Leviticus 24:20
fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury.

Deuteronomy 19:21
Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Exodus 21:24
eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

Then we have Matthew 5:38-40 or Romans 12:18-20, which I feel support the other side; those against it.

Matthew 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ 39“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.…

Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20“BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”…

All of the case reports and Bible quotes aside. I think this all boils down to one question; “Which one of us has the right to say who should die? Are we above the Almighty himself? We have a lot of ego to think it’s not a big deal to say who should die and who should live. I have a pretty simple thought process on the Death Penalty. I feel if Pennsylvania is going to keep the Death Penalty on the books, then let’s use it. It doesn’t do a service to the victim’s loved ones and family by ceremoniously sentencing someone to death then grant them appeal after appeal. All you do is drag the survivors through yet another trial, having to listen to all the details yet again of how their loved one was killed. And at the end of the day, the person who murdered their family member is still alive to appeal another day and the victim is still dead. More agony and sorrow for those left behind to mourn and try to find closure.

Truly, I do not believe Pennsylvania will ever hold another execution. So instead of letting this “Bipartisan Committee” suck more money from the tax payers to do not much of anything useful, let’s just do away with the Death Penalty all together. Some feel that having the death penalty is a great deterrent for violent crime. It’s not when EVERYONE knows they won’t be executed. I feel this is just a case of prestidigitation by our newly elected governor. He can say; “Look what I did, I kept one of my campaign promises the first few months I was in office.” All the while, sliding something past us that is far worse than the death penalty. Higher taxes, Lower wages whatever. Instead of slight of hand, maybe he could find another way to help out victims of crime. Maybe he could take a page from Nevada. Anyone convicted of a sexual crime involving a child under 14 buys a mandatory life sentence. I think it is a fair trade-off.

I guess I have ruffled a few feathers here. Well anyone who knows me, knows I don’t really care. It’s my job to piss people off. I think none of us have the right to decide if someone lives or dies. Who are we to say it’s okay to kill someone. I have never had a family member or a loved one murdered so I can not accurately say I know how they feel, but I can say that knowing the person responsible for the death is allowed to continue to breathe after being sentenced to death is hard to fathom but even I have to say to them;

John 8:7 – Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.

Geeze, and they call ME crazy…

 

 


Gary Heidnik Serial Psycho

Gary Heidnik
Serial Psycho

The debate has raged on for years; Should Pennsylvania Abolish the Death Penalty? Since it’s reinstatement in 1976 only 3 people have been executed. Keith Zettlemoyer was executed on May 2, 1995 for 1st Degree Murder, Leon Moser, Executed August 16, 1995 for 1st Degree Murder and Gary Heidnik on July 6, 1999. Heidnik was probably the most famous of the three. He kidnapped, tortured and murdered several women, some of whom he made eat the remains of those killed before them, in the basement of his home.

My opinion is simple; Either use the death penalty or get rid of it. To let not only the inmates but the victim’s families languish for years with no result is not reasonable by any standards. Now the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has created a task force to study the death penalty and make recommendations to our judicial system. Really? When they say that the death penalty costs the state more money than a life without parole sentence, I have to say I agree. To pay a bunch of pencil pushing panty-wastes an exorbitant salary to study this is ridiculous.

Victim, Jennifer Daugherty

Victim, Jennifer Daugherty

For an example let’s use the Jennifer Daugherty case from Greensburg, Pa. Six people have been charged with the torture-murder of the 30 year-old mentally challenged woman. 3 have been tried and convicted with two of them receiving the death penalty. This woman’s family has had to endure 3 trials so far, reliving all of the gruesome, graphic evidence 3 times over with still 3 more trials to go. What will the outcome be? Will these shit-bags, sorry, criminals be executed? You have a better chance of seeing Dale Earnhardt and Neil Bonnett race at Daytona again. 

Now let’s add in the groups that have never lost someone to a violent crime. Like the ACLU or Amnesty International. They claim that execution is painful and inhumane. So I guess kidnapping, torturing and murdering a mentally challenged woman isn’t. Some site the Bible where it says; “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord…” Maybe, but it also says; “An eye for an eye…” Amnesty International says that Pennsylvania has 194 inmates on death row. The breakdown is as follows: 106 blacks, 68 whites, 18 Hispanics and 2 Asians. They further state that the death penalty is racially biased based on police procedures, adequacy of representation and other factors. They also say that African Americans get the death penalty more than whites who commit the same crime. Now see, here is where I get pissed over the whole damn debate. These groups use race as their basis for the outcome. When you use race, most people are afraid to tread there. Well my dear readers, I am not.

Instead of really relaying factual information, they skew it to fit their one-sided argument. While there are more black inmates on death row, how many come from socio-economically depressed areas? Philadelphia, to name only one, has its wealthy sides as well as its depressed neighborhoods, like most large urban areas. To that end, a lot of these people are forced to do things to make ends meet. Some are forced to commit robbery, sell drugs, prostitute and even be forced into the gang lifestyle. While Amnesty International is bemoaning racial profiling, did they factually state that the last 3 people put to death in Pennsylvania, Zettlemoyer, Moser and Heidnik, were all white? Um, I can answer that; No. It makes their racially bigoted argument look a little shaky. I guess because those 3 men were white, it was no big deal. Instead of relying on cold hard data, groups like Amnesty International, the ACLU and Decarcerate PA, can’t fund themselves if they stick to the whole truth. To me it seems like they just want to tilt at windmills, ANY windmill. Thank you Don Quixote.

John Lesko

John Lesko

Michael Travaglia

Michael Travaglia

Does housing an inmate on death row cost more? Yes it does. A 2011 story in The Allentown Morning Call stated that the Pa DOC spends approximately $10,000 more per inmate to house them on death row. Now add in the cost of trials and re-trials. Because the death penalty is an option these are capital cases costing the Commonwealth between 1 and 3 million per case. No add in suck-bags, sorry, inmates like Lesko and Travaglia, who between them have had upwards of 14 re-trials. Each time they get re-convicted and sentenced to death the fall under Pennsylvania’s Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA), allowing them an automatic appeal. Now here is where I have the problem. They keep getting new trials based on the defense they received in their first trials back in 1982. Each time, both of these assholes, sorry, criminals are convicted and sentenced, they get a new trial. Someone needs to put on their big boy or girl gutchies and say; “No More.” It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback and say Pennsylvania is bleeding money, but no one wants to do anything about it.

I think it’s easy. Instead of paying a bunch of over-educated wieners an obscene amount of money to do a “Study”, use the money to carry out the executions. By allowing multiple appeals you are causing the State to spend more money on an open wound so to speak. Limit the amount of appeals. I mean really, how many times does a jury need convict someone of murder and sentence them to death before the courts actually believe them? Lesko and Travaglia are only part of what is wrong with our judicial system. Why do we keep granting re-trials and appeals based on old information? Like with Lesko and Travaglia, there is nothing new here. What do we hope to accomplish by this act of futility? Easy, Lesko and Travaglia and all of the others getting new trials every other day are basically thumbing their noses at the judicial system knowing they will never “Ride the Lightning”.

Ron "Tater Salad" White

Ron “Tater Salad” White

Now on the other side of the coin, if the Commonwealth decides to abolish the death penalty then let’s change some sentencing guidelines. I mean some of Pennsylvania’s mandatory sentencing practices now need revamping. But onto where I was heading a minute ago. Instead of being sentenced to death, change it to Life without the possibility of parole. One appeal, that’s it. Stop clogging up the courts with these ridiculous appeals that 99% of the time has the same outcome. Is it possible that new information could come to light exonerating the inmate? Possibly. Since 1973 140 people have been released following the proof of wrongful conviction in the United States. That is compared to 1,329 executed in that same period. So in 40 years only 140 have been freed Nation-wide? Sounds like a pretty good ratio to me, but I digress. The change in sentencing guidelines is probably the biggest thing that needs to happen. Comedian Ron White from Texas said; In Texas, if you kill someone, we’ll kill you back. If there are 2 or more credible witnesses who saw what you did, you go to the head of the line. Most states are trying to abolish the death penalty, Texas put in an express lane.” Texas is not afraid to use the death penalty. Since 2010 they have executed 45. Since 1974 they have executed 492.

Ok, now that I have rambled on for what seemed like an unbearable amount of time, the bottom line for me is very simple. If the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is going to keep the Death Penalty on the books then use it. If they are not going to use it, dump it. It’s not of any solace to a victim’s family to see someone “ceremoniously” sentenced to death to then never have the sentence carried out. Someone needs to get off their asses and make a decision. Appointing a committee to “study” the death penalty is as stupid as it is reckless. The State whines about budget shortfalls but appoints committees to study how much poop ducks and geese shat out. Instead of telling teachers their pay will be based on the success of their students how about our politicians in Harrisburg and Washington have their pay based on the amount of jobs they created or social services they saved, not how much they can spend on lavish trips and other tax payer funded perks. Geeze, and they call ME crazy…


Ring Leader; Ricky Smyrnes

Ring Leader; Ricky Smyrnes

Victim, Jennifer Daugherty

Victim, Jennifer Daugherty

In an update from our last post; Justice for Jennifer – Part III – Another Conviction; Ricky Smyrnes, the purported ringleader of the Greensburg 6, was convicted to die of lethal injection. On Thursday a jury decided he was not mentally retarded, therefore, he was eligible for the death penalty. By law, a person that is mentally retarded can not be put to death. This stirs my earlier question; does that mean they can be kidnapped, tortured and murdered?

Smyrnes lawyer, Terry Faye, argued that he was mildly retarded, citing a defense expert. D.A. John Peck countered stating that Smyrnes knew what he was doing. He knew Daugherty would have to be held captive in that apartment. “I only ask that you give us justice in accordance with the law, based on a preponderance of the evidence.”

D.A. John Peck

D.A. John Peck

After Peck’s closing argument, the jury had to decide Smyrnes fate; Should he sent to prison for the rest of his life with no possibility of parole or should he be put to death. In less than 4 hours the jury decided death was to be the outcome. Peck said of the death penalty; “It is reserved for the worst of the worst murderers, the worst of the worst defendants…”

“I don’t care what he did, he’s a person,” Terry Faye told the jury during her closing argument, trying to spare Smyrnes the death penalty. “I’m not saying I feel sorry for him. I’m not saying I like him; I’m not sure if I like him, but you can’t ignore the evidence,” Faye said.

He’s a person? So was Jennifer Daugherty and she was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by 6 people she thought were her friends. Yes, she was living with a mental disability. Does that mean that she is any less of a person? What these 6 monsters did to her was inconceivable. Congratulations to D.A. John Peck on securing another conviction. The last 3 members of “The Greensburg 6” are scheduled for upcoming trials and it is believed that 2 of them will cop pleas… Let’s get 6 for 6 and get “Justice for Jennifer…”

By Trib artist Randy Bish

By Trib artist Randy Bish


Victim, Jennifer Daugherty

Victim, Jennifer Daugherty

 

Ring Leader; Ricky Smyrnes

Ring Leader; Ricky Smyrnes

In a swift deliberation earlier this week, a Westmoreland County Pennsylvania jury found Ricky Smyrnes guilty of first degree murder in the death of Jennifer Daugherty in 2010 and will return Tuesday the 19th to decide if he should spend the rest of his life in prison or be put to death.

The jury deliberated roughly two hours before finding Smyrnes, the accused ring leader of the infamous “Greensburg Six” guilty on all counts including second-degree murder, conspiracy and kidnapping in the torture murder of Daugherty in Smyrnes shit-box apartment in Greensburg.

The speed of the verdict surprised Smyrnes’ lawyer Mike DeRiso. “It came back faster than any of us anticipated,” he said. Really? I didn’t think it was a real stretch to find him guilty. This writer believes that what these people did to Ms. Daugherty, the mentally challenged woman who was befriended by these monsters, is incomprehensible to anyone with an ounce of compassion.

DeRiso felt that the jury would come back with a guilty verdict for second-degree murder not first. Oh well. Maybe there are people who think and believe like the rest of society does and after hearing the pure misery, terror and pain Ms. Daugherty suffered at the hands of these six monsters, couldn’t find any result other than guilty of first-degree murder.

DeRiso himself did his best to lay the ground-work for an insanity plea when he was talking to the press. He said that Smyrnes is “nuts” when he’s off his meds. Since Tuesday is the penalty phase of the trial, Smyrnes’ mental capacity and criminal history will be at issue. Insanity is a common plea since you can’t find someone “bat-shit crazy” you have to say insane. It is the more politically correct way to say it.

No matter how you slice it they will be going balls to the wall to try and spare him the death penalty. It’s what defense attorney’s do. Do I agree with it? We’ll leave that one alone. I think all of the “Greensburg Six” should get the needle but that choice is not up to me. Then there is our state of Pennsylvania. While they re-instituted the Death Penalty they haven’t used it since 1999 when Gary Heidnik took the lethal injection for killing and eating his victims and feeding them to the others he held captive.

John Lesko

John Lesko

 

Michael Travaglia

Michael Travaglia

What I truly believe is that if the great state of Pennsylvania is never going to execute another death row inmate then let’s do away with the death penalty all together. What is the point of ceremoniously sentencing someone to death to never execute them. Then to allow these cretins to file appeal after appeal does nothing but clog our justice system and cost the Commonwealth millions of dollars to put these convicted killers back on trial again and again. Lesko and Travaglia of Westmoreland County are the poster children of countless appeals. The have had somewhere around 15 appeals between the two of them since their 1981 “Kill for Thrill” spree in Pittsburgh, Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland Counties where their victims included a female who picked them up hitchhiking, a police officer shot down in cold blood and a church organist who they beat and drowned in an Indiana County Park Lake.

Ex-Trooper; Kevin Foley

Ex-Trooper; Kevin Foley

Kevin Foley, the disgraced PA State Police Trooper, was convicted of the 2006 murder of his girlfriend’s estranged husband John Yelenic in his Blairsville home. Yelenic was beaten, stabbed and his throat was slashed so savagely he was almost beheaded. Foley was tied to the murder by bloody foot prints and security camera footage from a nearby convenience store.  He too is filing appeal after appeal although he was not convicted to die he was still sentenced to life in prison.

Pennsylvania has what it called Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA). Once an inmate has been convicted and sentenced, they are granted one appeal. For some reason the legal system allows for appeal after appeal after appeal. Apparently being found guilty umpteen times is still grounds for an appeal. My point is simple though. No matter what the crime is there should only be a certain amount of appeals before they are out. I mean really, how many times do Lesko and Travaglia need to be found guilty and sentenced to death before the courts realize; “Hey, these guys might really be guilty…”

Melvin Knight

Melvin Knight

 

Angela Marinucci

Angela Marinucci

The bottom line is simple; We need to change sentencing guidelines and limit the number of appeals someone can have. Two other members of the infamous “Greensburg Six” have already been tried and convicted. Melvin Knight was convicted and sentenced to death late last year and Angela Marinucci was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Since she was under 18 at the time of the crime she was not eligible for the death penalty. Now Ricky Smyrnes will wait for the same jury that convicted him of his crimes to decide the outcome of his sentence.

A second defense attorney Terrence Faye will argue that Smyrnes is mildly retarded. The same argument Mr. DeRiso made at trial on Thursday during his closing. Under the law, mentally challenged people can’t be put to death. Does that mean they can be kidnapped and murdered?

DA John Peck argued that Smyrnes knew exactly what he was doing. During his closing Peck described him as a conniving schemer who incited his 5 roommates, including his girlfriend Angela Marinucci, to hold Daugherty captive for two days while beating and torturing her. Peck said it was Smyrnes who held a “Family Meeting” to take a vote on whether or not Daugherty should live or die, then ordered co-defendant Melvin Knight to kill her with a knife. Peck then said Smyrnes pitted Marinucci against Daugherty in a bid for his affection in what amounted in a twisted love triangle. Then Marinucci and the other assholes, sorry, accused, then ganged up on Daugherty and killed her according to the prosecution.

The Greensburg 6

The Greensburg 6

As I end this I am glad to see that so far Westmoreland County DA John Peck is 3 for 3. These people need to pay for what they did to a woman with mental disability is unbelievable. While I think that life in prison is too good for these pieces of shit, sorry, that was insensitive, The final judgement is God’s. The judge in the court room has judged them and now there is only one judgement left. “Vengeance is mine says the lord…” Although I say; “An eye for an eye…”


Jennifer Daugherty

With the writing sabbatical over I return to start the fall with a piece on the torture-murder of  30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty and the punishment of yet another member of the Greensburg 6. If you remember my early piece called Justice for Jennifer (part I) When 18-year-old Angela Marinucci was sentenced to life in prison for her role in the case, we now move on to Melvin Knight, 22. In early April Knight plead guilty to First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, Kidnapping and Conspiracy. On August 30 a jury of 6 men and six women deliberated for 2 hours before condemning Knight to death for his part in brutal torture-slaying.

The Infamous “Greensburg 6”

Westmoreland County DA John Peck said the case against Knight – and the prosecutions of his 5 roommates charged with holding Daugherty captive for more than 2 days, torturing her and eventually stabbing her to death – was one of the worst he has ever seen. “This is a case with an aggravating circumstance of torture. I don’t remember of any case with this as an aggravating circumstance in my 30 years in the District Attorney’s office,” Peck said. Knight becomes just the third person sentenced to death since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the 70’s. The other 2 are the equally famous “Kill for Thrill” Murderer’s, John Lesko and Michael Travaglia. Knight is now the 203 person sent to Pennsylvania’s Death Row.

Melvin Knight is led into court

During the nine-day trial the Prosecution presented 137 exhibits and 23 witnesses, some of whom testified that  Knight and his roommates beat the victim with a towel rack and metal crutch, doused her with spices and forced her drink concoctions of  urine, feces and cleaning supplies. Knight then stabbed her to death when he plunged a steak knife into her heart 3 times. Her body was bound with Christmas lights and garland before being dumped in a garbage can and left in a Greensburg school parking lot where it was found by a worker.

To get the Death Penalty the prosecution needed to prove that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating factors presented by the defense. The jury found just one mitigating circumstance in Knight’s favor; that he suffered from mental health issues.

In their nearly hour long closing, Knight’s defense attorney’s Said that while Knight’s actions were indefensible but there were several factors in Knight’s past that would justify sparing his life. 3 of them were his age, lack of a criminal history and he was under duress and the substantial domination of co-defendant Ricky Smynres.  Knight’s family also testified during his trial to include his mother. She said that she did everything she could to try and help him. I’m guessing she didn’t do enough.

In a side bar story, the day before Knight was sentenced to death, a letter was received by the court where Knight was seeking permission to obtain a marriage license so he can marry his fiance and mother of his two-year old daughter. Who is this mystery woman you ask? Co-defendant Amber Meidinger. In my opinion, they deserve each other. What these assholes, sorry, defendants,  did to that woman is in excusable but to then bog down the court with a request to marry another piece of shit, sorry, person, is a crock of doo-doo. If they want to get married so bad, push their gurney’s together at SCI Rockview when they get their lethal injections.

To close, 2 down 4 to go. I believe Ricky Smynres is going on trial in October. We here at ATCMC will Keep you posted and we pray that all of these douche bags, sorry, alleged douche bags, get the justice God has intended for them. This is yet another case of a jury condemning someone to death. If they are going to carry out the sentience then fine. If not, let’s do away with the death penalty if you have no intentions of ever using it. I think it’s worse to ceremoniously sentence someone to death only to give them appeal after appeal on the same things over and over again. In Knight’s case he automatically gets one appeal under the Post Conviction Relief Act or PCRA. Let’s keep it at that and not allow umteen appeals like Lesko and Travaglia.

We also give our thoughts and prayers to the family of Jennifer Daugherty. They have had to endure two trials and hear the horror she was subjected to. We pray it is all over soon so you can get on honoring and remembering your daughter and sister.


2012 is just about here. As 2011 fades into the sunset we remember some of the more memorable events of the past year. Some were shocking, some were discouraging and some I just have no words for at all. Be that as it may, this is my rundown of some of the more memorable events of the past year.

Penn State and Jerry Sandusky

Jerry Sandusky

Joe Paterno

This was a story involving the sexual abuse of about 8 kids that not only involved Sandusky but ended up costing several key figures at Penn State their jobs. One of the most prominent was head football coach Joe Paterno. Many felt that Paterno didn’t do enough once he was made aware of the alleged sexual abuse involving Sandusky. After the scandal broke more and more young adults came forward claiming to have been sexually abused by Sandusky. Since the beginning of this entire debacle many students have been transferring from Penn State to complete their degree elsewhere because they no longer want to have any ties to PSU.

Gary Shultz

Mike McQueary

Also shit-canned and now facing charges along with Sandusky are Gary Shultz and then coaching assistant Mike McQueary. McQueary, as you may recall, allegedly saw Sandusky assaulting a juvenile in the shower and according to him said that he made sure the event was ended before leaving. Yeah right. Did you remove that child from the situation? No. You left him there and didn’t really do much to report it. You saw that child and the fear in his eyes and you chose to protect your job. Just as Joe Paterno chose to protect the football program, your actions harmed more children. You deserve to rot in hell like every other goddamn child molester. I hope it’s hot enough for you there.

South Fulton Tennessee Pay for Spray

Gene Cranick

Vicky Bell

After as much media attention as the South Fulton Tennessee fire department received last year after letting Gene Cranick’s house burn to the ground when he forgot to pay a $75 fire protection fee, they went ahead and did it again this year. The difference this time was the fact that Vicky Bell refused to pay it, she didn’t forget. The Mayor, David Crocker defends the 20-year-old policy by stating that if they allowed people to pay after the fact, there would be no incentive to pay the fee at all. Okay, I understand your thinking, but this isn’t garbage service we are talking about here, this is public safety. I fail to see how charging residents who live outside of South Fulton makes you right. The Mayor said that it is hard to answer all the calls and maintain the upkeep on equipment and staffing without the fee. Really? There are departments that have been doing it for years and years. Most feel it is like being extorted by your fire department. My suggestion is simple. If it is so hard to respond to those pesky calls for help, give up the area and let another department handle the area, one that isn’t hung up on money, one that is hung up on saving lives and property.

"The Don" David Crocker

The International Association of Fire Fighters thinks that the practice is reckless. They feel that a fire fighter shouldn’t have to check a list before they respond to a call to see if the home owner has paid the fee or not. It just astounds me that no one has stepped in and made South Fulton change their policy. It further astounds me that there have been no law suits. When Vicky Bell’s home burnt to the ground, the fire department stood idly by and watched as she and her boyfriend kept going back in to salvage as much as they could. Mayor Dave Crocker said that even in an instance where the home owner hasn’t paid the fee, they will do what they need to do to protect or save a life. Sounds like it. Why don’t you and the rest of your gun-toting, red neck fire fighters, (and I use that term fire fighters loosely), stick to rolling tourists or beating up old ladies for their pension checks. Leave the fire fighting to those who actually care about fighting fires.

Kate Gosselin

Kate "The Coopin Blogger" Gosselin

I had done a pretty good job staying away from this poor excuse for a human being this year but I have to admit, when her show got cancelled I actually smiled a little. We watched her abuse her eight kid gravy train for years so she could get her personal enhancement surgeries. Even though she swore she was still doing the show to make money to care for her kids. Right and chickens have pyorrhea. We all know that she loved the fame and attention but as the show drew to a close those around her the most, including assistants and those who actually took care of her kids, were getting sick of her. She abused everyone around her. It was an inevitable conclusion to the woman who made Marge Schott look like Julie Andrews.

As a footnote to all of this, it was reported a few months ago that she had a new job; as a coupon blogger. I have no idea what the eff that is but it sounds like it was the laziest job she could get. Why didn’t she return to being a nurse, you know a job that actually meant something. Oh, that’s right she would have to go through life anonymous if she did that. Is it really that hard to take care of your kids? I don’t know what a coupon blogger is and frankly don’t want to. I mean who would actually take her advice, if that is what she does. In my opinion she got too greedy and ended up where she deserved. Hopefully her ex-hubby is around to take care of the kids and give them what they need while she is coupon blogging.

Suspensions, Fines and All-Around Poor Sports

Ndumkong Suh

This year in sports has seen some of the worst sportsmanship ever from those so-called professionals. First and foremost on the list is Ndumkong Suh of the Detroit Lions. He was the first recipient of the ATCMC Sports Disgrace of the Year award given for the first time this year. He was tossed from the Thanksgiving Day game against the Packers and was subsequently suspended for 2 games and fined following that for stomping an offensive lineman from the Packers. [See Video] He tried to give some unbelievable half-assed story for what he did but it still doesn’t wash. [See Video] After being in the league for a mere 18 months he has racked up 9 personal fouls. Detroit better get him under control soon before he really hurts someone with his poor attitude.

Kyle Busch

Kurt and Kyle Busch from NASCAR are the next two on my list of sports miscreants. Both have received big sanctions from the NASCAR governing body for their on and off track behavior. Kyle Busch was suspended during the fall race in Texas for an on-track dust-up with Ron Hornady. Both drivers were racing in the truck event Friday night when they touched and both drivers went in to the retaining wall sustaining what looked like minor damage. Kyle Busch though was apparently angered by Hornaday’s decision to move up the track to pass a slower truck causing Honaday and Busch to touch. Busch’s reaction was to slam Hornaday’s truck causing both drivers to slam the wall totaling both trucks and taking them out for the rest of the race. [See Video] Busch was registered for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races there the following two days but was suspended for his actions. He was also fined and docked championship points. His primary sponsor M&M/Mars also pulled out for the remaining two races of the 2011 season.

Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch was fired from Penske Racing following an expletive laced interview with ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch after the elder Busch Brother sustained transmission problems in the season finale at Miami/Homestead. [See Video] He even went as far as to call Dr. Punch a mother blankedy blanker. His crew chief Steve Addington jumped ship the following Monday and Busch was fired later in the week. Busch claims that the split was unanimous and that he was not fired. He said he felt it was time they parted ways. Well yeah, he’s done all the more damage he can there. Anyone with half a brain knows he was shit-canned and rightfully so. I wonder if he kisses his mother with that potty mouth of his. It is a shame that these idols that kids look up to and admire don’t meet the minimum standards of good sportsmanship and fair play.

The Castle Doctrine and The Death Penalty

Governor Tom Corbet

New Governor Tom Corbet re-worked the Castle Doctrine this past year and it has already affected two pending cases since that time. For those of you who don’t know what this doctrine is about, I’ll give you the very abridged version. Basically what it means is if someone is trying to break in and threaten your home, you have the right to use lethal force. It was changed to include living space as an attached deck or porch. A man in Somerset County was in jail awaiting trial for shooting his wife’s lover when the man came to his house threatening him. He was carrying a weapon and the husband shot him with a bow and arrow killing him. The husband said it was in self-defense and under the Castle Doctrine he did nothing wrong so no charges were filed by the DA. Another case comes from New Castle in Lawrence County where a would-be burglar was shot and killed on Thanksgiving Day by the owner of a home he was attempting to unlawfully enter. No charges were filed in that case either. The Castle Doctrine is a step in the right direction to allowing us to protect our homes and family.

There is also a bipartisan task force being formed by the State Senate to look over the Death Penalty. In 2007 a panel from the American Bar Association said that Pennsylvania’s death penalty is flawed with insufficient safeguards to protect the innocent and avoid racial or economic bias. The last person executed in Pennsylvania was in 1998. That was the infamous mass murderer Gary Heidnik from Philadelphia. In fact in the last 50 years there have only been 3 people put to death. Governor Corbet has signed upwards of 9 ceremonial death warrants since taking office in January. I am not opposed to the death penalty but I also believe if we are not going to use it then we need to get rid of it. What purpose is served by spending the extra money for a death penalty trial as opposed to a 1st degree murder trial then not execute someone. It is nothing more that a waste of money. Can the death penalty if you are not going to use it. It harms the families of the victims as well. They are forced to live with the notion that the life of the killer was more valuable and meaningful than the life of the victim.

Craig Morgan, Jeff Gordon and Bret Kiesel

Craig and Karen Morgan

Kiesel before and after

I did a small entry earlier in the year on how some celebrities do small things to help a larger group and I found that to them, all they had to do was something so simple that many didn’t notice it at all. Craig Morgan and his wife started Billy’s Place. It is a home for kids displaced from their homes in Dickson County Tennessee to go to when they need shelter. When he worked as a deputy sheriff he saw many kids having to sleep on cots or couches at children’s services until a foster home could be found. He decided if he was ever in the position to do something for them he would. Now that he is a successful country music singer he and his wife Karen have given back. He also holds charity rides every year to continue raising money for the project.

Jeff Gordon teamed with AARP for the 2011 racing season to raise money for a program to assist older Americans. It was called the Drive to End Hunger. Gordon said that he was shocked when he learned that there are a lot of elder people in our country that, through no fault of their own, just don’t have enough to eat. By driving his car every week he helped raise thousands of dollars for this program.

Bret “The Diesel” Kiesel was able to raise over $30,000 this past year by shaving off his famous beard. Kiesel is involved in many charitable organizations and is never afraid to help out in some way. The fundraiser was attended by hundreds including some of his past and present team mates.

Strikes and Ballroom Dancing

The past year has seen a lot from the Pittsburgh Steelers. After suffering a loss in Super Bowl 42 to the Green Bay Packers, the Black and Gold along with every other team in the NFL had a shortened pre-season due to the players strike. Once everything was all worked out the training camps were cut short but the only game that was lost was the Hall of Fame Game in Canton Ohio. Now the Steelers are waiting for the end of week 17 and the outcome of several games to find out whom and when they will play. If they beat Cleveland on New Years day and the Ravens lose to Cincinnati then the Steelers have a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Bengals also need to win on Sunday to be in the playoffs at all. If the Steelers and Ravens both win, the Ravens will win the AFC North with home field advantage. In that case the Steelers would either play the Broncos or the Raiders the following Sunday. Either way the Black and Gold are in the playoffs and hopefully the road to win their 7th Super Bowl.

Hines and Troy cuttin' a rug

Steelers Troy Polamalu, Bret Kiesel and Hines Ward took part in a Head and Shoulders commercial in the off-season. [See Video] Troy is already the well-known spokesman for the shampoo but during the shooting for the commercial Hines Ward took some time out to show both Troy and Bret some steps. The whole thing was caught on a flip cam blew up you tube. [See Video]. It was nice to see the lighter side of these guys and the fact that they have a sense of humor too. If you remember, in Troy’s first Head and Shoulders commercial he introduced us to Polamalacules, the things that make Head and Shoulders work so well.

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehn, Adieu

As 2011 closes hopefully we can look back and remember the good things from this year. Let’s go in to 2012 with a positive outlook for all things to improve. We all need to remember that the future is ours and we can make it anything we want. I almost forgot one of the Biggest stories of the year and that is combat operations are over in Iraq and almost all of the soldiers have returned home to their loved ones. The staff at ATCMC wishes all of you a safe, happy and prosperous 2011. God Bless.

It's on the way


24 year old John Lesko in 1980

On September 15th Governor John Corbet signed his eighth death warrant since taking office in January. John Lesko, half of the “Kill for Thrill” duo was sentenced to be executed on November 9th of this year. He was placed on track for execution February 24th when the State Supreme Court overturned lower court rulings that he should have a new trial. However, his execution could be delayed by action in Federal Court. Through his court-appointed attorney, Sam Agnell of Philadelphia, Lesko has appealed his conviction to the US District Court for Western Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh. On August 12th Agnell filed a writ of Habeas Corpus, which basically means that the attorney says there was something wrong with the trial and that he wants the defendant released. So, what happened? He was found guilty? This is ridiculous. How many times does this self-admitted killer need to be convicted of the crimes he confessed to before they stop wasting the tax payers money?

Michael Travaglia

John Lesko

For those of my readers who don’t remember the “Kill for Thrill” spree in December of 1979 to January of 1980 I will give you the details of what happened.

The spree began around December 29, 1979, with the shooting death of Peter Levato, 49, of Pittsburgh, who was abducted by the pair outside the Edison Hotel in Pittsburgh. His body was found near the Loyalhanna Dam in Westmoreland County, near Saltsburg.

The second victim, Marlene Sue Newcomer of Leisenring, Fayette County, was killed on or about January 1, 1980, after she picked the pair up hitch-hiking. Her body was found in her car in a Pittsburgh parking garage on January 2, 1980.

The men returned to the Edison Hotel where they abducted their third victim, William Nichols of Mount Lebanon. They drove with the victim in his car in the early morning of January 3rd to Blue Spruce Park near Ernest, in Indiana County. Lesko and Travaglia bound and gagged Nichols, stuffed rocks in his jacket, then dumped him through a hole in the ice.

Lesko and Travaglia, driving Nichol’s car returned to Westmoreland County where they lured rookie police officer Leonard Miller, 21, into a chase. The pair shot him in cold blood as he approached their vehicle when he stopped them in Oklahoma Borough.

The pair was then arrested in Pittsburgh on January 5th, 1980, with an unidentified juvenile. They were first prosecuted in Indiana County for the drowning death of Nichols. They pleaded guilty to second degree murder charges and were sentenced to life in prison.

During a 30-year legal battle, Lesko was granted a re-trial in 1995. Low and behold he was convicted and sentenced to death at which time he launched a new appeal. In 2006 Westmoreland County Judge Richard McCormick ordered a third trial for Lesko and, in 2008 the State Superior Court denied DA John Peck’s bid to uphold the conviction. What crap. No wonder we have a useless death penalty. When people like this can manipulate the system to prevent their punishment why do we have incarceration in the first place? When these men admit to what they did then refuse to accept their punishment it makes our judicial system a joke. Sorry fellas, you don’t just get a time out for killing 4 people, one of them a police officer. Why don’t you get Rush Limbaugh to be your attorney? He thinks public servants like police, corrections officers and the like are worthless, obviously so do you two, it would be a perfect pairing.

Michael Bardo

In an update on a post I did back in July, “Thanks for manning up“, killer Michael Bardo has changed his mind. In a Letter dated June 27, 2011, Bardo stated he didn’t wish to pursue any further appeals as it was prolonging the obvious conclusion. Bardo was convicted in January 1993 for the Rape and murder of his 3-year-old niece, Joelle Donovan. He was sentenced to death and in June decided he wanted to accept his punishment.

Of course in typical governmental bureaucracy, they decided to hold a hearing anyhow, even though Bardo was accepting his punishment. Deputy Attorney General Kelley Nelson said she wouldn’t oppose a hearing. Well, in that time from June till last week, his new tree-hugging attorneys brow-beat him into rethinking his decision and now he has decided to continue on the Lesko and Travaglia path. He’s guilty, he admitted to it and he was sentenced to death, but wait, that’s not the outcome I want. Let’s appeal until I get what I want. Who cares who I have harmed or will harm by my actions. I’m a greedy bastard and even though I took someone’s life, and in Bardo’s case a child, it doesn’t matter. I only want to accept my punishment if it’s the one I want.

As I have always said, If we are going to keep the death penalty on the books then let’s use it. If we have no intention of using it then take it off the books. Sentencing someone to death for their crime then not carrying it out is more harmful to the families of the victims then a life sentence. I was once told that no one should have the right to take someone else’s life. True, but, by sentencing someone to death then letting them have appeal after appeal to get out of it is like putting more worth on the killer’s life than the victim. If no one should have the right to take another’s life, no one should have the right to determine one life’s worth over another.


Murderer Michael Bardo waiting to die

From the Wilkes Barre Times Leader – 7-7-11

In a one page written appeal to the Pennsylvania Attorney General, convicted murderer Michael Bardo said he wants to stop any further appeals and have his sentence carried out; execution.

42-year-old Bardo was convicted and sentenced to death in January 1993 for the first degree murder and 2 counts of indecent aggravated assault for molesting and killing his 3-year-old niece, Joelle Donovan. Police said Bardo stuffed the girl’s body in a trash bag and threw it into Solomon Creek in South Wilkes-Barre.

Well I for one applaud the dirt bag. He knows he effed up and wants to man up and take his punishment. Then-Governor Rendell signed the death warrant in January 2006. However, because Pennsylvania has the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) later that month Senior Judge Patrick Toole (Yeah, this guy is a tool) issued a stay of execution to allow Bardo’s attorneys time to review records and prepare an appeal

Okay, like I have said before, the PCRA is granted when a direct appeal to the State Supreme Court is rejected. So I can understand the appeal, but this guy wants to die for what he did. In a state where everyone is bitching about budget short-falls, the Deputy Attorney General Kelley Nelson said that she does not oppose a hearing to determine if a conflict exists between Bardo and his lawyers or to determine if new council should be appointed, or if Bardo really wants to proceed with his execution.

Well let’s save the tax payers a little money you twit. Bardo’s June 27th letter said: “I no longer wish to pursue with a situation that I believe is prolonging the inevitable. This letter is to inform you of my intention to withdraw my current [Post Conviction Relief Act] petition from the court, and that I am waiving any further appeals in my case.” I don’t know, it sounds pretty cut and dry to me but hey, let’s have another hearing and waste more tax payer money when the inmate clearly doesn’t want it. This is the point I keep trying to make. It’s not always the convicted wasting money on bull shit appeals; sometimes it’s the state itself.

A Luzerne County judge has not yet scheduled a hearing to make a determination, or to accept Bardo’s request to go forward with execution. In his previous PCRA filing and hearings, his attorneys, Moreno, Abreau and Osborne had alleged that the council that represented him at his 1993 trial “Dropped the ball” and were ineffective in that they failed to present evidence that Bardo suffered from mental health disorders. Really? Maybe they didn’t present it because they had no evidence.

This is a case where the accused wants to die but the bureaucrats need to justify their jobs to someone so they will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep him from what he truly wants; death. If these save the world attorneys need to fight for a cause then jump on board with Lesko and Travaglia or Richard Baumhammers. These guys seem to be whining for a new appeal every other day. Maybe they need to man up and take the needle like Bardo wants. You know, pay for their crimes and be square with the house again. Of course in a country like ours, there are those that love to defend the guilty and try to make martyrs out of them. I for one think it is sick. Michael Bardo wants to accept his sentence and the court system wont let him. How effed up is that? I actually think it is really pitiful. Why fight a case that defendant doesn’t want to fight? You know why? Because that’s how some of these morons function. They get off by trying to right the wrongs and fix injustices. Oh please, I couldn’t even write that and not chuckle. Some people say the Bible says; “Thou shalt not kill.” That’s true, but it also says; “An eye for an eye.”

I guess the easiest way to end this is to say; if Bardo wants to die, we should accommodate him. To him, living might be more cruel and inhumane then execution itself.


Condemned Murderer Richard Poplawski

The jurors only deliberated 2 hours yesterday before adjourning for the evening in the capitol Murder case of Richard Poplawski. I’m sure it is not an easy task being tapped to decide a person’s fate. The 12 jurors from Dauphin County that found Poplawski guilty of murdering 3 city police officers on April 4, 2009 now have decided that he will be condemned to death instead of spending his life behind bars. “What is the difference?” some ask. Truthfully, it’s a big one.

If the jury somehow sentenced Poplawski to life in prison, he could’ve live out his days in a general population setting. He could have a job, play intramural sports, have a cell mate and even share a warm embrace from his Nutsy Fagan mother. He also could’ve had the opportunity to go to most of the prisons within Pennsylvania with the exception of Cambridge Springs, Muncy or the Quehanna Boot Camp. Cambridge Springs and Muncy are both female only facilities and he can not go to the Boot Camp because his was sentenced to be executed he is no longer eligible for Quehanna, not to mention he committed a capitol crime and they do not go to the camp.

As a lifer jobs can vary from janitor, block worker, dietary or in one of the Prison Industries where they make soap or boots or a myriad of other things. He would have had the opportunity to take classes and go to church or eat in the dining hall. Lifers have full access to the prison commissary which is like a store. They can buy soups and snack cakes, as well as other food items. They can purchase a phone card and make phone calls every day. When it is exercise time Lifers can go to the yard with other inmates and even sit on the block and play cards or board games as well as watch TV and have socialization with other inmates. If they want that they can watch TV in their cell. TVs are sold through the commissary too and can either be the standard 13 inch tube style or he can purchase a 19 inch flat screen.

Since Dick Poplawski has been sentenced to death he will live out his remaining days in a 6 X 9 foot cell and only be allowed to leave 2 hours each day for exercise while shackled and hand cuffed. Death row inmates are allowed a TV and 2 library books a week but the major difference is that there is no, and I mean no, interactions with other inmates. He can have a job on death row but it would be as a janitor and his duties would be completed alone save for a corrections officer overseeing him. Most of the inmates on death row read or write. Some sit and stare at the bars. Their meals are served through an opening in the cell door called a wicket. We call it the pie hole or pie slot. He is allowed writing materials but it is only a flexible pen. It consists of basically the ink portion of a pen and the writing tip. This is done to prevent it being fashioned in to a weapon.

Death row is what a true solitary confinement is. Solitary. Some inmates might get a commuted sentence; from death to life. Others know there is only one way they will leave; death either by natural causes or an illness or by their own hand. Some inmates are driven to madness being locked in a cell 22 hours a day and in the end find a way to commit suicide. The security is also heightened on death row because these inmates know they have nothing to lose by attempting to escape or harm themselves or others (guards). Also as a death row inmate Poplawski will either go to SCI Greene or SCI Graterford. Those are the only 2 State prisons with the ability to house Pennsylvania’s 213 death row inmates. If by some twist of fate Pennsylvania does begin using the death penalty again, the inmate is not executed at Greene or Graterford; they are transported to Rockview, near State College, and are executed there as that is the only prison with a death chamber. Pennsylvania’s method of execution? Lethal injection. The last time the electric chair was used was in the late 60’s.

Some feel that the death penalty is too harsh because he was raised by a bigoted and abusive grandfather and Poplawski shouldn’t be held accountable for his actions. Horse shit! He made an adult decision and now needs to face adult punishment. True in Pennsylvania the death penalty amounts to a life sentence because we have not executed someone since 1999, it is a much sparser life with none of the comforts of home. I know as a writer I am supposed to be neutral but in a case like this I feel those officers were set up by both Poplawski and his mother and he should not ever forget what he did. Crocodile tears in the court room cried by Poplawski were nothing but a ploy he is very smart let’s not forget that. He was tested in school and had a 135 IQ. He knew what he did was wrong so now he should be punished for it. God bless Sciullo, Kelly and Mayhlie, may you rest in peace and may justice be served for you and your families you left behind.

 

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