The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

August 21, 2013

State in briefs 8/22/2013

Judge sets Oct. 29 date in Paterno suit

BELLEFONTE – A judge has scheduled an Oct. 29 hearing in the lawsuit filed by the family of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno against the NCAA over penalties it imposed on the school amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Judge John Leete said in an order that he would hear arguments on preliminary objections filed by defendants in the case, court officials announced Wednesday. The order also established a schedule for the Paterno family and other plaintiffs to reply to the objections.

The NCAA penalized the schools for its response to complaints about the former Paterno assistant and imposed a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, a loss of scholarships and the elimination of 112 Paterno-era wins.

Sandusky, 69, is serving a decades-long prison sentence after being convicted last year of child molestation. Paterno died in January 2012, two months after he was removed as head coach following the arrests of Sandusky, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz.

Curley, Schultz and former Penn State President Graham Spanier await trial on allegations they illegally covered up complaints about Sandusky.

Woman granted new trial in 2009 slaying

UNIONTOWN – An appeals court has granted a new trial for a woman who had been serving a 20- to 40-year sentence in the stabbing death of her boyfriend four years ago.

The state Superior Court on Tuesday vacated the third-degree murder conviction of 36-year-old Dayna McMaster of Brownsville, The (Uniontown) Herald-Standard said.

McMaster was convicted in Fayette County of killing Clarence Blair III with a hunting knife in June 2009 at a remote location near a gas well in Redstone Township.  She said she was a battered woman acting in self-defense who had been repeatedly abused by Blair during their five-year relationship.

In her appeal, McMaster said her trial attorney should have called witnesses to testify about injuries from the alleged abuse, and the appeals court agreed.

Corpse flower making stink at conservatory

PITTSBURGH – The folks at Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory are making a stink over their newest exhibit. Then again, the exhibit itself is contributing to the stench.

A rare corpse flower is blooming and the conservatory stayed open until 2 a.m. today to give visitors a chance to see – and smell – the unusual plant.

The plant blooms only every six to 10 years and, even then, it lasts only one to two days.

While in bloom, the plant gives off a pungent odor that some say smells like trash and others say mimics rotting flesh – hence the plant’s name.

The conservatory has named the plant Romero after Pittsburgh filmmaker George Romero, the man behind the 1968 cult zombie classic “Night of the Living Dead.”

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