Ligonier resident convicted of killing 2
GREENSBURG – A jury has convicted a Ligonier man of killing a couple after he went to their home to buy marijuana.
Eric Hall, 30, acknowledged going to the home but said he didn’t kill Anthony Henderson and Noelle Richards in Washington Township on Aug. 28, 2011. Instead, Hall said he discovered their dead bodies and got rid of his bloody clothes and a gun like that used to shoot the couple simply because he didn’t want to get involved.
But Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck convinced the jury to convict Hall of first- and second-degree murder late Thursday.
Other witnesses said Hall threatened them with a baseball bat as they saw him flee the residence as the others also arrived to buy drugs. Peck said Hall also had bludgeoned Henderson with the bat.
Man gets 21 years for recording child sex
PITTSBURGH – A Westmoreland County man has been sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for pleading guilty to secretly video recording his sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl in 2009.
But Timothy Eugene Shearer, 55, of Avonmore, could face more time if he’s convicted next month in Westmoreland County of 17 charges that he molested and exposed himself to the same girl and a 4-year-old boy.
A federal judge in Pittsburgh ordered that all but six years of the 21-year sentence imposed Wednesday will run concurrent to any state sentence Shearer receives. That means Shearer will spend six years in federal prison after he finishes any state sentence.
Federal authorities filed the child pornography charge after Shearer’s relatives last year found a tape labeled “Wildlife 3” that contained the assault on the girl.
Police issue DUI to man on riding mower
MURRYSVILLE – A western Pennsylvania man has been charged with driving drunk while carrying an open can of beer – on a riding lawn mower.
Murrysville police say they found 55-year-old Thomas Marrone driving the mower along a road shortly before
1:30 a.m. Aug. 30.
Police said Marrone smelled of alcohol and had an open can of Coors Light beer in the mower’s storage compartment. They said he told them he was driving to his Murrysville home – some 6.4 miles away.
Test case on 911 calls, evictions set for trial
PHILADELPHIA – A federal judge on Thursday ordered a trial to decide whether towns can force the eviction of tenants who make too many 911 calls, a national test case pitting free speech rights against community safety concerns.
U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno said he expects the “complex and novel” case to reach a federal appeals court.
The American Civil Liberties Union believes the laws endanger domestic violence victims and violate their free-speech rights. The group’s Women’s Rights Projects had been looking for a test case and found one in nursing assistant Lakisha Briggs, a single mother living in a rowhouse in Norristown under a federal subsidized rent program.
An ordinance in the Philadelphia suburb fines landlords and orders them to evict tenants who make three 911 calls within four months. Norristown officials say the laws are designed to promote peaceful neighborhoods and discourage nuisance calls.
After a series of police calls involving arguments with her 21-year-old daughter and others, Briggs was afraid to call police during an attack by an ex-boyfriend last year. A neighbor eventually called, over Briggs’ protests, and the severely injured Briggs was airlifted to a hospital.
“This woman was being battered in her home and was silenced,” Peter M. Smith, a private lawyer working with the ACLU, argued Thursday.
Judge approves plan to fix Hbg. finances
HARRISBURG – A Pennsylvania judge said Thursday that she will approve a plan to help rescue the state’s capital from the brink of bankruptcy.
Commonwealth Court Judge Bonnie Leadbetter made the remark after a two-hour hearing on the plan assembled by the state-appointed financial custodian for Harrisburg.
Harrisburg receiver William Lynch submitted the plan last month in a bid to relieve hundreds of millions of dollars of debt and erase the city’s persistent budget shortfalls. It involves selling the city’s municipal trash incinerator, whose $350 million debt the city is unable to repay.
Leadbetter called the plan “the best chance I think this city has seen in a long time,” an important stamp of approval going forward, though not all of elements of the sprawling deal have been finalized.
Wife sues airline after hubby’s ashes vanish
PHILADELPHIA – A suburban Philadelphia woman is suing US Airways, saying her husband’s ashes disappeared from her luggage as she flew to England to bury them in his hometown of Hull.
Angeline O’Grady’s husband, Brian, died of cancer in October 2011. She was flying his ashes to England the following month when she said the Transportation Security Administration told her she couldn’t take the ashes through security at Philadelphia International Airport.
O’Grady said she was directed to the US Airways counter and put the ashes in her checked luggage. The Trumbauersville woman said the ashes were missing when she touched down in England.
Ligonier resident convicted of killing 2
- State News
Pennsylvania sees 3rd rating downgrade in 2 years
New York-based credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service is slapping a lower rating on Pennsylvania’s debt for the second time in two years, as state government grapples annually with built-in budget deficits.
Water skier injured by boat propeller, airlifted to Hershey
A central Pennsylvania man who was airlifted to a hospital by helicopter after he was injured by a boat’s propeller is said to be in good condition.
Ethics agency probes lawmakers named in cash sting
The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission is investigating allegations that four state lawmakers were caught in a cash-for-favors sting following complaints filed by citizen activist in March.
School piano repairman guilty in child sex sting
A piano repairman has pleaded guilty to seeking sex from an officer posing as a 14-year-old girl, using the Internet connection of a western Pennsylvania charter school where he worked.
1 dead, 2 wounded at public housing complex
Authorities say three people were shot at a public housing complex in western Pennsylvania and one of the victims died.
Train derailment near Williamsport spills coal; no injuries
Authorities say a train derailment in central Pennsylvania spilled coal from four cars, but caused no reported injuries.
Rock attack shows motorists’ vulnerability
As 52-year-old middle school teacher Sharon Budd recovers at a central Pennsylvania hospital after being injured by a rock thrown at the vehicle in which she was riding, some may wonder whether they face the same risk.
The answer is yes.
- Local and state briefs 7/21/2014
Pitt tuition increasing
Tuition at the University of Pittsburgh, already the highest for in-state students among public universities in the United States, is about to go up under a nearly $2 billion budget approved by the trustees.
Deal puts on hold new gas leases on state land
The Corbett administration and an environmental group said Friday they struck a deal that will prevent a loss of funding for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources while the group’s lawsuit seeking to stop natural gas drilling in state-owned parks and forests goes forward.
- More State News Headlines
- Pennsylvania sees 3rd rating downgrade in 2 years