The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 28, 2014

Local and state briefs 3/1/2014

Fire injures woman at Johnstown home

An 82-year-old Johnstown woman suffered burns in a fire that started in her residence Friday morning.

Mary Homan was taken to Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, then transferred to a Pittsburgh hospital, a state police fire marshal in Ebensburg said. Her condition was not available.

Careless cooking is blamed for starting the fire, which began shortly before 7:30 a.m. in the kitchen area and spread throughout the first floor of the Bheam Avenue residence, the fire marshal said.

Westmont cancels musical benefit

A benefit for Westmont Hilltop High School’s musical production scheduled for tonight at The Grove in Westmont has been canceled due to a lack of participation.

Altoona man sentenced to 7-14 years for 1999 slaying

An Altoona man has been sentenced to seven to 14 years in prison in the 1999 slaying of his daughter-in-law.

Kenneth Leighty, 66, pleaded guilty in December in Huntington County to third-degree murder in the killing of Sherry Leighty, 23. Her body was found on his property in Warriors Mark Township in May after prosecutors offered the defendant a plea bargain.

Defense attorney Thomas Hooper read a statement at Thursday’s brief sentencing hearing in which Leighty expressed regret for the pain he had caused to relatives, The (Altoona) Mirror reported.

Altoona police said Leighty told investigators that he and the victim got into an argument that turned violent, and he struck her in the head with something.

He never told investigators what led to the argument.

Town to end police department in wake of chief flap

 A week after a Schuylkill County borough announced the departure of its polarizing police chief, officials have voted to begin the process to abolish its police department, The (Potts­ville) Republican-Herald said.

Former Chief Mark Kessler was the only officer on the Gilberton force. He reached a settlement that pays him $30,000 and allowed him to retire.

Gilberton officials suspended Kessler last year and tried to fire him after he posted videos of himself shooting borough-owned automatic weapons and cursing liberals and others.

State police now provide protection for the town.

Judge: Craigslist killing suspect will stay in prison

SUNBURY – A woman charged with her newlywed husband in the murder of a man lured to his death through Craigslist will remained locked up in a state prison while she awaits trial.

Judge Charles Saylor rejected 19-year-old Miranda Barbour’s request to be transferred back to Northumberland County Prison, The Daily Item of Sunbury reported Friday.

Warden Roy Johnson had sent Barbour to the Muncy state prison for women last week, saying the international attention to her recent claim to a newspaper reporter that she killed more than 20 people had disrupted security at the county lockup. Investigators have found no evidence to substantiate her claim.