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Wife of Wilkes-Barre man poisons him with thallium, his friends oppose her parole
Lester woman charged with setting fire to estranged husband's home while he slept
Camden teen charged as an adult in boyfriend's death
A life of terror
Westmoreland County jury rules against woman in genital gluing
A life ruined on the words from a child
Nesquehoning woman admits she lied about being raped
Woman admits she lied about rape
Lancaster woman takes third place in the 2003 Stella Awards
Latrobe area doctor killed by physician/girlfriend
Resident physician found dead
Ex-lover charged in doctor's murder
Bagby murder evidence exposed
Dr. Shirley Turner and infant son found dead in murder-suicide
Asinine custody decisions result in child's murder
Through it all Dr. Turner remained in denial
Dover woman charged with plotting to kill ex-beau's girlfriend
Several women prosecuted in Montgomery County Court after assaulting husbands or boyfriends
Mother kills three children, boyfriend, then self in Zion Grove
Bethlehem woman found guilty of assaulting boyfriend
York County woman pleads guilty in hired-hit attempt
Lock Haven woman convicted and sentenced to death in hatchet murder
Dance-contest dispute leads to fatal shooting in Philadelphia
Erie woman charged with using baby as weapon against boyfriend
Jealous Norristown woman shoots longtime husband after he takes second wife
York woman stabs boyfriend
Doctor in Pine shot by ex-wife
Annville Township woman charged with stabbing boyfriend to death
Frying pan fight leads to domestic violence charges against man and woman
Norristown woman accused of assault on ex-boyfriend and stun gun threats against his sister
Wilkes Barre Times Leader
September 6, 2006 In July, 2006, family members of the murdered Robert Curley pled with the public to swamp state officials with letters opposing parole for Curley's wife and killer, Joann.
On Tuesday, two months and 700 letters later, Curley's family members said thanks to all the letter writers.
The Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole recently denied Joann Curley's bid for parole in the 1991 poisoning death of her husband, Robert's family said.
"We prayed that she would be denied parole and our prayers have been answered," Robert's mother, Mary, said in a press release. "Now my son can rest in peace."
And the denial came with even better news for the family. The board indicated it will not be reviewing Joann's parole until 2015, just one year before she will have completed her maximum sentence, unless she requests reconsideration.
The Curley case became one of Luzerne County's most notorious homicides once Robert became ill in August 1991 and later died.
Robert was hospitalized, but his illness stumped doctors, who were unable to make a diagnosis. He was released, only to have his symptoms worsen. He was eventually taken to the Hershey Medical Center, where doctors realized the 32-year-old man was being poisoned.
It wasn't until two days before his death on September 27, 1991, that doctors figured out he was being poisoned with thallium, a colorless, odorless, and tasteless metal.
Robert's family was stumped.
And it wasn't until five years later that police said they believed Robert Curley's wife was responsible for the poisoning. She wanted and got her husband's insurance money.
Joann was arrested and jailed in 1996. She was later scheduled for trial, but decided to plead guilty to third-degree murder. That's when she admitted using rat poison in killing her husband, starting just six weeks after they were married.
In July 1997, Joann was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.
In July 2006, Robert's sister and other family members called a press conference to ask for the public's help in a letter-writing campaign to keep Joann in jail.
After that plea, District Attorney David Lupas' office received more than 700 letters that were forwarded to the state board.
Those letters played a role in the board's decision, said Susan Hooper, Robert Curley's sister. And she also vowed to fight again if Joann applies for parole.
Hooper said Joann deserves to serve the full 20 years of her sentence.
"She should not be released one second sooner," Hooper said in the release. "My brother died the most painful and cruelest of deaths and she has never shown one bit of remorse for her evil deed."
Lupas also sent a letter strongly opposing Joann's parole. He hopes her continued incarceration could provide the family "with a small measure of relief."
"Her crime involved one of the coldest and calculating criminal offenses I have ever heard of and it shocked the entire community,'" Lupas said. "Joann Curley should remain behind bars for as long as possible."
July 1, 1993, Tinicum A Lester woman has been charged with setting fire to the home of her estranged husband about 4 AM Saturday while he and his parents were asleep.
Georgina Ann Clarke, 30, of the 300 block of Seneca Street, was arrested about 6:30 AM Saturday after an investigation by Tinicum police and Delaware County arson detectives into the fire at the home in the 400 block of Powhattan Avenue.
November 14, 1998 A 16-year-old girl charged as a juvenile when she was accused in March of stabbing her boyfriend, Winfield Corpening Jr., to death was arraigned yesterday on an adult charge of first-degree murder and now faces the possibility of life in prison.
The teenager, identified as Rasheeda Smith of the 700 block of Fifth Street in Camden, was being held at the Camden County Youth Detention Center. Prosecutors had asked that she be moved to the county jail.
Author's name and address omitted by request
This happened in southeastern Pennsylvania. I was married in 1985. I hope that my story will help to awaken some people to the fact that a lot of men are being held a virtual hostage by women who feel that they are in a win-win situation.
I have been living and surviving over 16 years with an abuser. I've been hit by fists and flying objects, bitten, had my belongings destroyed, generally lived in a terrorized state for all of that time.
I had everything to lose and she had nothing to lose, so I never fought back. If I could have left and taken my children, I would have been gone, years ago. However, only she had that option, and she knew it and used it.
The thing I always thought that made me different was that I am a man and the abuser my soon to be ex-wife. The other abuser in this case is this society and the court system which has made sure that she could continue to hold me a virtual hostage, by refusing to stop her when I went to them a pleading for help.
Another co-conspirator was the first counselor that we went to. He sealed our fate by telling her flat out, without even knowing us, that her violent abuse was not her fault, but caused by our marriage. From that day forward, she no longer took any responsibility for her actions. Her drug and alcohol abuse was my fault. Her angry and violent behavior was again, my fault.
I suffered in silence at first, kind of ashamed that I was allowing myself to be beaten by a woman, but eventually, I got the nerve to call her personal physician. She instructed me to take her to a specific hospital with police help if necessary. By the way, her personal physician later denied everything, leaving me with a very angry woman.
At the hospital, we were referred to a local counseling center. The counselor at the center then told my wife that it was not her fault. After that it was open season on me. I would go to sessions with visible injuries, caused by her abuse and the counselor would spend the session comforting her about what a bad week she must have had to cause her to act out in such a manner.
I then called domestic abuse hotlines and crisis intervention lines for help and from them I got disbelief. One counselor told me that my story was a classic tale, one that she had heard many times... but, never, from a man.
I then started filing reports at the local police station. I could tell that they were getting tired of me coming in and making reports and not going for an arrest. That was my mistake.
The police told me that I also had the option of taking my many reports and filing for a protection from abuse order.
I finally got the nerve to do so.
The judge must have had a good laugh about me because the message he sent out to me showed great disdain. He said to tell me that before he would even look at my case, I would have to bring my wife in front of his court and somehow prove to him that she was guilty of this behavior.
I crawled home and she got the message that I was hers . Lock stock and barrel. She owned me and could dispose of me at any time she wished and the courts would give her my head on a platter if she so desired.
She kept a running tab on how much child support she would get if she kicked me out. She was assured that the kids were hers and every lawyer that I consulted told me that she was absolutely right.
I became wall paper, kept my mouth shut and suffered in silence. All I was to her was a paycheck and a babysitter, and now she has found someone else with a paycheck and the kids are too old for a babysitter.
I am getting free and although I miss my kids terribly, I love my freedom from fear. I don't have anyone going through my pockets and wallet. I don't have anyone emptying my bank account on a weekly basis and, of course, now when she gets abusive with me, I hang up the phone.
If a man stays with such a woman, she has a paycheck and can abuse him at will with the permission of the courts (ask any lawyer, I did). If he leaves she takes his children and at least half of everything that he has ever worked for plus a large portion of his income for years to come. All she has to do is find another paycheck and she can do that while he is baby sitting, otherwise known as weekend visitation.
Now she has two men supporting her and her children. Meanwhile her first husband is struggling to put his life back together without the children that he loves and misses dearly.
I have recently been in contact with an organization that serves people who are victims of domestic abuse. I have also received several emails from men who totally identify with my story and have lived much of it themselves. I am, finally, not alone.
I hope that you can help free people like me and help us get back the rights and freedoms that have been so cruelly taken. In know that men can be abusive too, but they are held accountable for their abuse, and punished for it.
Thank you! Talking about it helps and pushing it down inside doesn't.
Greensburg According to an Associated Press story published November 5, 2005, a Westmoreland County jury on Friday ordered Gail O'Toole, 56, to pay $46,200 to her ex-boyfriend, Kenneth Slaby, 58, for gluing his genitals to his abdomen in May 2000.
Jurors found in favor of Slaby of Pittsburgh in his civil case against Ms. O'Toole of Murrysville after three days of testimony and ordered the payment for pain, suffering and emotional distress, according to television station KDKA.
"For all the pain and suffering I've been through, and the embarrassment, I don't think it's enough," Slaby told reporters after the verdict. But Ms. O'Toole claims she only receives about $800 a month in alimony and disability payments because she suffers from bipolar disorder. So it is quite questionable whether the jury award will ever be paid. [EJF note: A reporter in a PIttsburgh Tribune-Review story stated O'Toole "earned" her income.]
Slaby's lawsuit said the two broke up in 1999 after dating for 10 months, and he began dating someone else. However, he testified that Ms. O'Toole continued to call him despite the breakup and the fact he was seeing someone else. When she left a message on April 30, 2000, saying she would kill herself if he didn't call back, he decided to call her.
About a week later, Ms. O'Toole invited him over to her home on May 7, 2000, where she began questioning him about the other woman, Slaby said. After Ms. O'Toole calmed down, he said, the two took a nap.
Slaby woke up with his penis glued to his stomach, his testicles glued to his leg and his rectum glued shut with Super Glue by Ms. O'Toole. Purple and red nail polish made his gray hair look tie-dyed. She had also painted profanity on his lower back.
Slaby said Ms. O'Toole told him that her actions were payback for their breakup, and he had to walk a mile to a gas station to call for help. He spent four hours at Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville. When an oil used to dissolve the glue didn't work, nurses had to peel Slaby's flesh apart. They took pictures of his body.
He pressed charges. Ms. O'Toole's defense attorney contended that the incident was nothing more than part of the couple's adventurous, consensual sex. However, Ms. O'Toole pled guilty to misdemeanor assault and spent six months on probation. [EJF note: It took over five years to get this ruling and we wouldn't be surprised to find it overturned on appeal. Slaby's attorney fees almost certainly exceed the amount he was awarded, which he has virtually no chance of collecting anyway.]
by Steven A. Morelli
June 23, 2002 Brunon Kryger won his case and lost everything else.
Before he was charged with child sex abuse, Kryger lived the picture of success: four children, two decent incomes, a house, two cars, solid credit and a good name.
Now, he is living in low-income housing, being forbidden from talking to his children, filing for bankruptcy and is uncertain from week to week if he will have enough money for groceries.
It all started and ended with a statement from a 7-year-old child. That statement crumbled in court but not before wrecking Kryger's life over a year of days that seemed only to get worse.
And even though a jury took less than an hour on June 12 to find Kryger not guilty, he cannot tell his children because he is barred by a protection-from-abuse order still standing on those allegations.
Since the verdict, Kryger has the weight of the charges off him, but the biggest change is simply being able to walk out in the light. Before, the 42-year-old rarely left his Edwardsville apartment, only going to his night watchman job the sole work he could find since he was fired from the state Labor Department because of the charges.
"I went to the post office the other day, and I ran into someone I knew," Kryger said. "I walked right up and said, 'Hi, how are you?' like a regular person. It felt good just to be able to do that."
But, in a society where child molesters are considered the lowest form of life, Kryger knows the brand will never completely fade.
"I know there are people who will look at me," Kryger said, turning his head for a sideways stare, "and say, 'but did he just get away with it?'"
Those who know him well never believed the charges, said Robb Henderson, former pastor of a church the Kryger family used to attend. Many people were stunned at how the charge unraveled a man and his family, he said.
"This could happen to any one of us," Henderson said. "A kid could just make a statement, and it could happen."
Kryger and his wife, Barbara, separated in March 2001 for what Kryger thought would be a temporary patch-up period.
During an argument with his wife before the separation, Kryger hit a hole through a door in frustration and threatened his wife, leading to a protection-from-abuse order forbidding him from harming his wife. It also gave Barbara Kryger possession of the house.
"I did the stupid guy thing," Kryger said.
A few weeks later, Kryger moved out, taking a plate and a coffee cup, assuming he would move back in soon.
On May 1, Barbara Kryger requested a hearing to get full custody of the children. She refused comment for this story.
On Memorial Day weekend, Kryger took three of his children shopping, buying them hundreds of dollars of clothing. Kryger's lawyer, Basil Russin, said in court that the girl who made the allegations an adopted child from Russia did so immediately after she did not get any of the items from the excursion.
The girl told Barbara Kryger that Kryger had fondled her and on another occasion covered her eyes with a sock and put something in her mouth.
Barbara Kryger told authorities that day, Monday, May 28, 2001, and got a no-contact protection-from-abuse order forbidding Kryger from even calling his family.
Kryger's first hint about the allegations was when he called the house two days later to arrange his next visit.
"She said, 'You'll never see me or your kids again,' and slammed down the phone," Kryger said.
He left work and went to the house, where Barbara Kryger called the police, who showed Kryger the new protection order.
He went to his apartment, where he found a letter from Luzerne County Children and Youth Services informing him he was named as a child abuser.
Word about the allegations got around. On June 18, Kryger got a call from the leader of the Polka Naturals Band, the group he played drums with for 12 years, carrying on his family's long polka tradition.
"He said, 'This stuff spread like wildfire. I have to let you go,'" Kryger said. "I told him I understood."
A few weeks later, on June 23, Kryger lost full custody of his children at a hearing.
"I didn't have a leg to stand on," Kryger said. "Here I am, an accused abuser, so where was I going to go with that?"
In addition to his children, he lost his music, his house and nearly everything he owned - and he had not even been charged yet.
In July, a letter came from the state Department of Public Welfare, informing Kryger an investigation found he abused the child.
Kryger was allowed supervised visits with his children until a July 25 visit was canceled.
On August 3, a police sergeant told Kryger criminal charges had been filed. They were felony counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and endangering the welfare of a child and misdemeanor charges of indecent assault and corruption of a minor.
Kryger spent the weekend in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility before making $15,000 bail.
It was the first time Kryger had been on the other side of the law, he said. He was a police officer in West Wyoming for 10 years before taking the state job 12 years ago. He had no criminal record.
"I never even had a speeding ticket," Kryger said. "Did they think that I, at 42 years old, got up one morning and said, 'I think I'll assault a child today?'"
During the next six weeks, he was first suspended and then fired from his clerical job in the Bureau of Disability Determination.
On August 27, after more than a month of not seeing his children, he went to his family's house and spoke to his wife for five minutes as he sat in his car.
At his September 17 hearing, all abuse charges were sent to county court. Afterward, he was charged with violating the protection order because of the visit.
On October 2, he attended a hearing on his protection order violation. Nobody from the public defender's office was there to defend him, so the judge pointed to a lawyer in the audience to represent him, Kryger said.
"He (the lawyer) said, 'Just be honest with the judge and say you went to the house,'" Kryger said.
He was sentenced to 30 days and sent straight to jail.
In the meantime, his house was repossessed and he was ordered to pay $200 a month in child support.
In late November, Kryger began talking to his wife on the phone several times a week. On December 21, his wife allowed a supervised visit between Kryger and the children. It was the first time he had spoken to them in six months.
"It was almost like they didn't know me," Kryger said.
The visits violated the protection order until January 3, when Barbara Kryger allowed the family's lawyer to drop the no-contact order and retain the no-hit order, Kryger said. The Children and Youth agency was unaware of the change.
For three months, Kryger often had the children in his custody, sometimes every day, he said. He hoped the family was coming back together.
On Friday, April 7, Barbara Kryger went to the District Attorney's Office to try to drop the charges, Kryger said.
"She denies that now, but that's what she told me then," Kryger said.
That is when prosecutors and caseworkers learned of the visits.
The following Monday, Barbara Kryger refused to let Kryger take the children and went to a victim's shelter for a week.
Kryger was arrested April 14 on a charge of violating the order, but there was no longer an order to violate. He was released the next day and the no-contact protection order was reinstated.
He has not seen his children since.
The period Kryger was allowed visitation with his children was a major issue in the trial, according to one of the jurors, Aline Frawley.
"What mother would let her children go with somebody who would be a danger to them?" Frawley said. "It seemed like she knew it was made up or something."
The prosecution's case was simply the girl's statement and that was not very convincing, Frawley said.
"Her answers didn't even sound like the charges," Frawley said. "Part way through the trial I said to myself, 'This is lame. Is this all they have?'"
Not only was the girl's testimony inconsistent about the incidents, Frawley said, but the now-8-year-old girl did not even know what school she attended or what her teacher's name was.
Court testimony also included an admission by Barbara Kryger that the child was manipulative and lied.
The jury took one vote, 11-1. After discussion, a second vote came up 12-0, all in less than an hour.
Gene Caprio, director of Luzerne County Children and Youth, said it is not unusual for young victims of abuse to have difficulty in court.
"They become less reliable reporters because trauma has a serious impact on a person's memory and self-image so they have trouble standing up to challenge," Caprio said.
"But in all the research that we're aware of, children don't lie about trauma," Caprio said.
That is what bothers Frawley. The girl's story came from somewhere, not likely just her imagination. Frawley said she thought there was something to the defense lawyer's point that the girl's first five years in institutions might have related to what really happened to the girl.
"Somewhere someone's guilty," Frawley said. "The saddest part of it all is that little girl."
Kryger said he nearly collapsed when the verdict was read. He was confident about his case but he did not know what would happen in the hands of the jurors.
His thoughts turned to his children. He wanted to tell them he had been cleared but because the protection order stills stands, that could get him arrested.
And he had enough of being arrested.
His lawyer, Russin, has arranged for a July 9 hearing on custody of his three natural children. If he wins partial custody, he can ask for an amended protection order to allow visitation, Russin said.
Kryger also is asking the state Department of Public Welfare to clear his record, but he is not guaranteed of that even though he won the criminal case. The child protection standard is tougher than the court's "reasonable doubt."
Kryger plans to file bankruptcy. His legal bills alone are about $15,000. That is not counting the months of unemployment and low-wage work.
Kryger cannot get his Labor Department job back. He can only take a civil service test and apply just as if he never worked for the department. And, even with his acquittal, Kryger wonders how many employers will be willing to take a chance.
But all that will work out somehow, he said. July 9 that is what he is focused on now. This time, in this hearing, he has the facts on his side, he said.
"And if Children and Youth shows up at the hearing, they should just pack up their little bag," Kryger said, "and move onto the next case."
Steven A. Morelli, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7221.
by Al Sword
© 2003 Times News Publishing, Lehighton, PA
April 3, 2003 Nesquehoning police have charged Mary Ann Galgoci, 42, of 544 E. Railroad St., Nesquehoning, with filing a false police report and making unsworn falsification to authorities. Both are second-degree misdemeanors.
Officer Kevin Drosdak was on duty at 11:35 on the morning of Dec. 11, 2001, when Galgoci called to say she had been raped sometime between 2:30 and 3:30 that morning. She said she did not want to file charges.
Drosdak called Chief Sean Smith to report the incident.
Both then went to the Gnaden Huetten Hospital in Lehighton to see her. There she identified her assailant as Robert Paul. A rape kit had been prepared and was turned over to Smith.
He asked a Victims Resource Advocate who was there to assist Galgoci to meet them at the police station for an interview with the victim.
At the station the rape kit was secured in the refrigerator and clothing she has been wearing at the time of the incident was put into the evidence locker.
In her statement she said that Rob Paul raped her and provided some graphic details adding that they did know each other but had never had sexual relations before the incident.
Smith took the clothing and rape kit to the state police crime lab which reported on July 11 of 2002 that seminal material was found on various items of Galgoci's clothing but not on the oral or vaginal swabs.
On Sept. 19, Smith interviewed Robert Paul who said he did not rape Galgoci and that he was willing to take a polygraph and DNA testing.
On Oct. 1, he met with both Galgoci and Paul at the Gnaden Huetten Hospital in Lehighton where two vials of blood were taken from each and sent to the crime lab asking for DNA testing comparing the blood of each to the seminal material on Galgoci's clothing.
On January 7 of 2003, the report came back indicating that Paul's DNA did not match or even come close to matching the material. And that the seminal material obtained from her clothing "is consistent with DNA from more than one person."
Galgoci appeared in court with her attorney during the late morning hours almost two hours ahead of the scheduled hearing.
She waived the preliminary hearing.
by Bob Laylo
©2003 The Morning Call, Allentown
July 30, 2003 A Nesquehoning woman admitted Tuesday in Carbon County Court that she falsely accused a neighbor of raping her, and had semen from at least two other men on her clothes.
Mary Ann Galgoci, 42, of 544 East Railroad Street, pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of giving false reports and unsworn falsification to authorities.
Judge Roger N. Nanovic deferred sentencing, and ordered her to get mental health and drug and alcohol evaluations before her next court appearance.
Galgoci told Nanovic she understood her rights, but said nothing about the case.
Nesquehoning police said Galgoci called them December 11, 2001, from the emergency room of Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital in Lehighton and said she had been raped by neighbor Robert Paul.
Galgoci repeated her claim in oral and written statements for police later that day.
Police took her clothes and a doctor took test samples from her body with swabs. They were tested at a state police laboratory, and semen was found on several pieces of clothes, but not from swabs taken from her body.
Meanwhile, Nesquehoning Police Chief Sean Smith interviewed Paul, who offered to take a lie detector test, and provided a blood sample for DNA testing.
His blood was tested at a state police laboratory, and a scientist determined his DNA did not match the samples from Galgoci's clothes.
"The report also indicated that the DNA obtained from...is consistent with DNA from more than one person," Smith wrote in an affidavit of probable cause.
Efforts to reach Paul were unsuccessful.
A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, $113,500 after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her coccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
Abstracted primarily from articles by Richard Gazarik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Tuesday, November 6, 2001 The body of a Latrobe Area Hospital physician was found Tuesday morning in Keystone State Park, Derry Township.
Dr. Andrew Bagby, 28, a member of the hospital's Family Practice Residency Program was found shot to death inside the park, which is located about two miles east of Saltsburg. Dr. Bagby was born in St. Louis, but grew up in Sunnyvale, California the heart of Silicon Valley, where his father, David, worked as a software engineer.
Dr. Bagby's body was discovered by two passers-by who were out for a morning walk state police said. When found, he was wearing hospital scrubs with an identification tag around his neck. He had been shot five times in the head, chest and rectum, and suffered a head injury.
His body was found in a parking lot near the boat launch area of the park. The night before, William Smith of Derry Township was walking along the main road through the park and saw Bagby's Toyota Camry parked next to a sport utility vehicle in the lot near the boat launch area, state police said.
The next morning, Smith was walking in the same area and saw Bagby's car still parked there, but the other vehicle was missing. State police said they later learned that Dr. Shirley Turner drove a late model Toyota RAV 4.
Bagby did not arrive for a social engagement Monday night and did not arrive for work Tuesday morning, hospital officials told state police.
State troopers went the hospital Tuesday morning to inform Dr. John Bertolino, director of the residency program, that Dr. Bagby's body had been found.
Bagby had enrolled in the Family Practice Residency Program at Latrobe Area Hospital July 1 st and was assigned to the Saltsburg office. The three-year program, designed to give young doctors hands-on experience in treating patients, places physicians who want to practice family medicine in one of the hospital's satellite offices where they can treat patients under the guidance of another physician.
Friday, November 30, 2001 State police allege that an angry Iowa physician, Dr. Shirley Turner, flew from Pennsylvania to Iowa, turned around and drove 16 hours back to Latrobe to kill the lover who had spurned her days before.
State police Thursday charged Dr. Shirley Turner, 40, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, with the November 5 th murder of Dr. Andrew Bagby. He was a graduate of the Memorial University of Newfoundland Medical School and completed one year of a surgical residency in Syracuse, New York, together with Dr. Shirley Turner before he quit and decided to go into family practice.
Dr. Turner moved to Sac City, Iowa, to work at Loring Hospital. She then moved to Council Bluffs, also in Iowa, and worked at a clinic operated by Alegent Health there.
She did not attend a memorial service for Dr. Bagby earlier this month in Latrobe. However, she did attend a service for Dr. Bagby held at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where they attended medical school together.
Canadian newspapers reported that Dr. Turner, who majored in chemistry in college, had aspirations to become a doctor but gave up her goal in 1980. She taught high school chemistry for a decade before resuming her medical school studies. By the time she went back to medical school, she was in her second marriage and had three children ranging in age from 5 to 12. She eventually had four children from at least three different fathers.
In announcing the issuance of a warrant for Dr. Turner's arrest at a news conference, Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said troopers amassed some "very positive evidence" linking Turner to Bagby's murder despite finding little physical evidence at the scene.
"We feel very strongly we have a very solid case," said Capt. Frank Monaco, commander of Troop A in Greensburg. "Their relationship was coming to an end."
Dr. Shirley Turner, who was born in Kansas to an American father and a Canadian mother, holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship. She was raised in Daniel's Harbour, Newfoundland, a remote fishing area on the province's west coast.
According to police Dr. Turner fled to Newfoundland, ostensibly to help one of her children who was injured in an auto accident, before charges were filed. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary had been notified of the charge but Dr. Turner was not taken immediately into custody.
Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said he will begin extradition proceedings to return Turner to Pennsylvania to face a first-degree murder charge, a process that could be "involved and complicated." Peck must persuade Canadian authorities that the evidence against Turner is credible before a judge in Ottawa will allow her to be extradited.
But Peck already had removed one hurdle. He told Canadian authorities that he would not seek the death penalty against Turner if she is convicted. Peck said the Canadian government is reluctant to extradite its citizens to the United States if they face possible execution. If Dr. Turner were to be convicted she faced life without parole.
Dr. Turner's attorney conceded that she had spent a week with Dr. Bagby in Latrobe before returning to Iowa on November 3.
Troopers Mike McElfresh, Randall Gardner and Kirk Nolan were able to trace Dr. Turner's return automobile trip to Latrobe and subsequent return to Iowa by using cellular telephone records to trace her journey. Troopers found that Dr. Turner began her return trip to Latrobe on November 4 th .
According to an affidavit accompanying the charge, she made two calls on her way back to Pennsylvania on November 4 from Chicago. She made a third call to Dr. Bagby the same day from South Bend, Indiana.
Records also showed that Dr. Turner made a call from Pittsburgh on November 5 th , even though she told state police she was not in Pennsylvania the day of Dr. Bagby's murder.
"These records indicate Dr. Turner's path of travel to Pennsylvania," Trooper McElfresh stated in the criminal complaint.
The phone records also revealed Dr. Turner made calls from Cleveland on November 5 th and the next day from Stuart, Iowa.
"These records indicate her path of travel back to Iowa," said Trooper McElfresh.
Dr. T. Clark Simpson, the chief resident at Latrobe Area Hospital, informed state police that Dr. Bagby told him Dr. Turner had showed up unexpectedly at his apartment at 5 AM on November 5 th .
"Bagby appeared to be angered by her arrival, according to Simpson," police stated in the affidavit.
Meanwhile, investigators have been searching for a gun they believe is the murder weapon, a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun purchased by Dr. Turner in Iowa.
According to the affidavit, Dr. Turner gave conflicting and incriminating statements to police and others. On November 6 th Turner told Trooper Gardner by telephone she had the weapon in Iowa and said she would turn over the gun to the Council Bluffs, Iowa, police the next day.
Before Iowa detectives reached her home, Dr. Turner had called Trooper Gardner and said the gun was missing. On November 7 th she changed her story again.
Turner told Trooper Gardner she had given the gun to Dr. Bagby, "but she didn't specify when or why," according to the affidavit.
Another witness linking Turner to the missing gun is a Council Bluffs firearms instructor, Paul Fryett.
State police interviewed Fryett, who said he taught Turner how to shoot using the missing weapon. Fryett also said Dr. Turner unexpectedly called him on November 6 th and told him that her gun was missing. Fryett, according to the affidavit, said Dr. Turner also admitted lying to police about the gun.
Police interviewed a mutual friend of Drs. Bagby and Turner in Nova Scotia who told investigators that Dr. Turner admitted to him she had seen Dr. Bagby on November 5 th .
Chad Timothy Nelson Burkhart said Dr. Turner called him on November 9 th and told him she had spent a week with Dr. Bagby and the visit "went well."
Dr. Turner's attorney said she officially learned her client was a suspect when Trooper McElfresh telephoned her on Wednesday, November 28, 2001. She said her client has cooperated in the investigation but that Dr. Turner returned to Newfoundland several weeks ago because her son was injured in an auto accident. She said the boy was discharged Wednesday from a Canadian hospital.
She confirmed that Drs. Bagby and Turner were romantically involved and described them as "very dear friends" who occasionally went on vacations together.
Monday, December 2, 2002 For the first time, a Canadian Supreme Court Justice has described in detail the evidence against Dr. Shirley Turner, who is charged with killing Dr. Andrew Bagby, 28, a first-year resident at Latrobe Area Hospital.
Dr. Turner, a former high school teacher who became a doctor, allegedly killed Bagby in a jealous rage after she told him she was pregnant and he told her he was seeing another woman, according to an opinion written by Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Justice Derek Green.
Justice Green, in a November ruling, said Dr. Turner was driven by "jealousy or revenge flowing from the breakup of her relationship with Dr. Bagby." Dr. Bagby had been seeing another woman who worked at Latrobe Area Hospital, the judge wrote and had purchased a box of condoms from a city drugstore in anticipation of a date with her.
A receipt for the condoms was found on Bagby's body, and the empty box, which matched the lot numbers on the receipt, was found by police during a search of Dr. Turner's residence in Iowa, the judge wrote.
Green said that "creates a web of circumstantial evidence" that could convince a jury that Dr. Shirley Turner murdered Dr. Andrew Bagby. In his decision, Justice Green details the evidence, starting with the time Dr. Bagby last was seen alive.
Dr. Turner flew to Latrobe and stayed with Dr. Bagby from October 26 to November 3, 2001, when she returned to Iowa, according to the document.
But state police charged that Dr. Turner immediately drove back to Pennsylvania to confront Dr. Bagby and tell him she was pregnant with his child. A son, who was born last summer, was being cared for by Dr. Bagby's parents.
The judge described how investigators traced Dr. Turner's return trip by tracking cellular telephone calls she made along the way. That information placed her in Latrobe at the time of the shooting.
Police said an agitated Dr. Turner appeared unannounced at Dr. Bagby's door about 5 AM on November 5, 2001, wanting to discuss their relationship. Dr. Bagby was last seen alive by a nurse at the Family Practice Clinic at Latrobe when he left work at 5 PM. Police believe Drs. Turner and Bagby planned to meet at the state park where his frost-covered body was found the next morning.
Initially, Turner told state police she did not return to Latrobe and did not give Bagby a gun she had purchased a month before the murder. She later admitted to police she had been less than truthful and changed her statement, Green wrote.
The judge also detailed other evidence that presented jealously as a motive for murder.
The other woman Bagby was seeing told investigators that a month before the killing she received anonymous telephone calls from a female who advised her to ask Bagby about "the beautiful blond lady doc he's been with." In what may have been an effort to sour the relationship, the caller told the woman that Dr. Bagby "hurts people."
Investigators later discovered that the calls to the employee were made from Dr. Turner's cell phone.
"If, indeed, Dr. Turner was the maker of these calls, it reveals anger and a state of mind that might suggest a motive for the crime, namely jealously," Green wrote.
Justice Green said the inconsistent statements Dr. Turner allegedly gave to state police, the condom box, the bullet and telephone records are damning but "none of these items, in themselves, of course clearly identifies Dr. Turner as the killer of Dr. Bagby." But, he added, "Taken together, they lead inexorably to the inference that Dr. Turner was present in Latrobe and at the murder scene at the time of death and was the one who caused the death."
Justice Green thus ordered Dr. Turner sent to Pennsylvania to face trial for first-degree murder. But Dr. Turner, who has dual citizenship in the United States and Canada, was freed on bond while she appealed the extradition order.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003 Legal efforts to return the 42-year-old Canadian-American physician to Pennsylvania ended when mother and her child were found dead Monday night along a beach in Conception Bay, just south of St. John's, Newfoundland. She successfully avoided prosecution for two years and had continued legal efforts to avoid extradition to the United States to face a murder charge in the shooting death of Dr. Andrew Bagby of Latrobe. Dr. Bagby was once her lover and was apparently the father of her 13-month-old son, Zachary, one of four children she had from at least three fathers and two failed marriages.
According to police accounts, Dr. Turner took her baby from his bed at about 11:30 PM Sunday and left her residence in the capital city of Newfoundland. She drove her older son's 1994 Mercury Topaz to Avalon Peninsula, just south of St. John's, and parked in Kelligrews, one of the small towns along the coast.
"The night she left, I saw her because she needed the car," said her son, T.J. Shears, 21, of St. John's. "I had to give her the car keys. I thought she was going to the store or something. She seemed all right to me. Didn't seem like anything was wrong."
Shears said he seldom discussed the pending murder case with his mother because he didn't want to know much about it.
When Dr. Turner did not return home with the car a bail bondsman, worried that she had fled, notified the Newfoundland Royal Constabulary. Police distributed photos of Dr. Turner and her child, seeking the public's help in finding them.
On Monday evening, a couple walking their dog on the beach found their bodies at Conception Bay near the town of Long Pond-Manuels. Police notified her Newfoundland attorney, who identified the bodies.
Newfoundland's Chief Medical Examiner's Office Tuesday listed the cause of their deaths as drowning in a murder-suicide. Officials determined that Dr. Shirley Turner, 42, committed suicide and killed her son, Zachary, by entering the waters of Conception Bay, outside of St. John's, Newfoundland, late Sunday or early Monday, Newfoundland's Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Charles Hutton said Friday. Hutton said he made his ruling after police ruled out any other possible explanation for the deaths. "Once you rule out any other situation, you must conclude that she killed her son and herself," Hutton said.
"They ruled out that other people threw them into the water in some fashion. And, being there about midnight, they weren't out for a pleasure swim. If it was 90 degrees out, I wouldn't go out there in that bay under the noonday sun," Hutton said of the chilly waters.
Although the bodies were found by passers-by on a beach Monday evening, Hutton said the area isn't easily accessible, further leading investigators to believe that Dr. Turner sought a remote location to take her life and that of her son.
"It's filled with boulders about five-feet high," Hutton said. "I nearly broke my ankle climbing down there."
According to police affidavits, Dr. Turner tried to commit suicide in 1999 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, after the breakup of another romantic relationship. Police reports indicate she was treated at a hospital after taking an overdose of over-the-counter sleep medication. Police said she left suicide notes directing that the payout from her life insurance policy should go to her children.
Dr. Turner lost custody of her infant son when she was imprisoned after the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador ruled she could be extradited to Pennsylvania. While she was in custody, Zachary was cared for by Dr. Andrew Bagby's parents, who left their home in California to live in Newfoundland after their son was murdered by Dr. Turner. She appealed, won her release on bond and somehow regained custody of the baby despite her indictment for murder in the first degree of Dr. Bagby. That incomprehensible custody decision ultimately resulted in her murdering the boy.
David and Kathleen Bagby, the child's grandparents, blamed the Newfoundland legal system for the infant's death and questioned the adequacy of the Department of Heath and Community Services, the department responsible for social services in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dave Bagby, the boy's grandfather, was shaking with anger and unspeakable grief when he described Dr. Shirley Turner as an "evil monster" who should never have been set free on bail in Canada or given custody of his grandson, Zachary. "We believe that the legal system helped her to kill our grandson," Bagby said during an emotionally-charged news conference, his wife Kate weeping beside him. The deaths were preventable, Bagby said, because there was evidence to suggest the infant was not safe with his mother. Dave Bagby said he and his wife had been granted visitation rights with Zachary and had applied for full custody.
After the murder of their son, Zachary became their reason for living, he said. "He became our new reason to be alive," Bagby told reporters, his voice cracking. "He was beautiful and sweet and a lovely, happy baby and we loved him and he loved us."
The grandparents fought for custody in court and also expressed concern about Zachary's safety to provincial officials. "We feared what she might do to Zachary if she got upset," Dave Bagby said. The custody case had not been resolved by the time Dr. Turner walked into the frigid Atlantic Ocean clutching Zachary to her chest.
The Bagbys say they notified social services about their concerns for their grandchild even before he was born but nothing was done. "That department never responded to us, and obviously never acted to remove Zachary from Shirley Turner," David Bagby stated at the very emotional news conference.
Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck, who was planning to prosecute Dr. Shirley Turner on a charge of first-degree murder, said the deaths are another tragedy for the family of Dr. Andrew Bagby. Peck said it is sad that David and Kathleen Bagby, who had formed a relationship with their grandson, have lost the last link to their son.
"It was just an incredible tragedy that she would kill yet another person," said Peck.
In one of her few public comments about the case, Dr. Turner maintained her innocence in a January story in The Telegram, a St. John's newspaper.
"I realize the alleged crime is horrible. I also know I am innocent of the alleged crime," she said.
Dr. Turner's legal odyssey began in December 2001 when she left Iowa for Canada. Although she said she went to help one of her children who was injured in an auto accident, authorities argued she fled to avoid arrest and prosecution.
According to a police affidavit, Dr. Turner told Kathleen Bagby that an attorney had advised her to flee to Canada after she murdered Mrs. Bagby's son and that she had no intention of returning to the United States.
A year after the slaying of Dr. Bagby, a Supreme Court justice in Newfoundland ordered Dr. Turner taken into custody after he ruled there was sufficient evidence for an American or Canadian jury to conclude Dr. Turner killed her former lover.
She argued the evidence against her in Westmoreland County was "flimsy" and based entirely on circumstantial evidence. She appealed that decision and was released on bond pending further appeals and was given custody again of the child she eventually murdered.
March 27, 2004, York (AP) A 51-year-old woman was charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill another woman romantically involved with her ex-boyfriend, police said.
Connie Sue Harshbarger, 51, of Dover, was charged Friday with criminal solicitation to commit homicide.
Police said that in January, Ms. Harshbarger offered a man money to kill Lisa Anderson, 38, of Dillsburg. The man called authorities and police began an investigation, which continued through several meetings between Harshbarger and the man, who agreed to assist police.
State police Trooper Chris Mumma said that Harshbarger wanted Anderson killed because she was dating Harshbarger's former boyfriend, whom police declined to identify.
According to court documents, Harshbarger met the man Thursday and gave him a ski mask to wear during the murder and said she had $800 in cash. She had given the man a $500 down payment at an earlier meeting, court records state.
Ms. Harshbarger was arraigned before District Justice Linda Williams, who set bail at $400,000.
© 2004 Carl Hessler Jr., The Mercury
Reproduced under the Fair Use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.
April 12, 2004, Norristown In recent months, several women have been prosecuted in Montgomery County Court for assaulting their estranged husbands or boyfriends.
Last month, prosecutors took Stacy Sheehan Davies, 38, of Ryan Path in Lansdale, before a jury on charges of simple assault and reckless endangerment for allegedly burning the bare back of her estranged husband, Thomas, with a hot clothes iron. Thomas Davies, 48, a stay-at-home dad, testified he awoke September 2, 2003, and encountered his wife ironing in a hallway of the Woodview Drive home they continued to share, pending a divorce, in Hatfield. He testified his wife wanted to discuss the divorce and "she wanted me out of the house because she couldn't live like this anymore."
Thomas Davies testified that when he refused to discuss the situation and turned to walk away from his wife, he felt the burning sensation of an iron, three times, on the right side of his back and shoulder. The iron caused second-degree burns, prosecutor Wallis Brooks said.
Stacy Davies, a biotechnician at Merck & Co. in Worcester, denied burning her husband. Her lawyer, Peter Thomas, implied that Thomas Davies burned himself, possibly to make his wife look bad so he could gain an edge in his claims for support and alimony during the pending divorce proceedings.
The two-day trial essentially came down to a he-said, she-said battle. The jury was deadlocked and Judge William R. Carpenter had to declare a mistrial.
Brooks is considering a retrial in the case.
Last November, Sarah Golding, 43, of Grandview Road in Ardmore, pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of simple assault in connection with a December 2002 incident during which prosecutors said Golding bit her boyfriend's nose during an argument. As part of a plea agreement, Golding was sentenced to one year of probation.
According to Lower Merion police, Golding's boyfriend told authorities that Golding began to swing her fists at him during the argument and that he caught Golding's arm to thwart her attempts to strike him.
Ms. Golding then suddenly bit her boyfriend's nose, "causing him to bleed substantially," Lower Merion police Officer Thomas Luke wrote in the criminal complaint. The boyfriend was treated for his injuries at a Philadelphia hospital, court records indicate.
Abstracted from story by Bill Toland and Tom Barnes, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau
May 2, 2004 Every killing rampage begins somewhere, and Hollie M. Gable's began early Sunday afternoon, when she shot her boyfriend in the ear as he slept in the rural Schuylkill County home that they shared.
By the time it ended late Sunday, Hollie Gable, 39, had also shot her two teenage daughters, her teenage son and, finally, herself, before police stormed her house on Green Mountain Road following an hours-long standoff. She died the next morning in a hospital.
State police found a note that Ms. Gable wrote before the rampage began, referring to her father's death two decades ago possibly a suicide, police suggested and saying that she and the children were going to be with him.
Investigators said that after killing boyfriend Kenneth M. Cragle, 39, with a bullet to the head, Gable shot and killed her son, Jared Brown, 18, and daughters, Kirsten Brown, 16, and Kelsey Brown, 13. All four victims were shot in the head.
Investigators said that after killing her boyfriend, Ms. Gable got into her car with her daughter Kelsey and began driving south to the town of Hegins, where Kelsey lived with her brother and sister and their father, Alfred Brown.
Kelsey never made it back to Hegins. About 70 miles northeast of Harrisburg, state police believe, Ms. Gable shot Kelsey by the side of state Route 61 in southern Columbia County, a few hours before a heavy storm swept through the eastern part of the state.
Two boys who'd been fishing in that rural area heard a gunshot about 2:30 PM. Half an hour later, a motorist found 13-year-old Kelsey's body, with a single head wound from a .357-caliber revolver. Carney, from the state police Frackville barracks, said Gable apparently forced Kelsey out of the car and shot her "execution-style."
According to Schuylkill County District Attorney Frank Cori, Gable had been involved in a 1993 custody battle with Brown, whom she had never married. In the mid-1990's, Brown won custody of their three children.
Hollie Gable had Kelsey over for a weekend visit, and was apparently driving her back to her father's house when Kelsey was shot by the roadside.
Police said Gable then proceeded to Alfred Brown's house in Hegins, where she found Jared sitting in a chair. Police figure that Ms. Gable knew Alfred Brown's work schedule as a coal miner, and knew that he would have left for work by the time she arrived.
Hollie Gable, heavyset with black hair, shot her son as he sat, her third murder of the afternoon.
She then drove to Tri-Valley High School in Valley View, where her children went to school and where daughter Kirsten was performing in a play, "Hollywood Hillbillies: The Musical."
Ms. Gable arrived at the school around 5 PM, before the play had ended, and watched the remainder from the back of the auditorium.
After the musical, Hollie Gable and her mother, Elizabeth, who had joined her, dropped Kirsten off at a friend's house for a cast party. After dropping her mother off back at the school where she had left her car, Hollie Gable went back to the cast party and told her daughter that her brother Jared had suffered a heart attack and they had to leave.
Hollie then drove Kirsten back to her home in Zion Grove, 25 miles away, where she shot Kirsten to death in the car sometime after 6 PM.
In the meantime, Elizabeth Gable, Hollie's mother, had gone to Alfred Brown's house, where she found Jared's body. She called state police, who descended on Hollie Gable's home in Zion Grove about 8 PM.
Outside the house, police found Kirsten dead in Hollie Gable's car. A short time later, police heard gunfire and surrounded the house, a beige, double-wide mobile home with a garage that had been built in the last month, neighbors said
The standoff lasted until about 11 p.m., with police speaking briefly to Ms. Gable by telephone.
Finally, police rushed into the house and found Hollie Gable in a living room chair, alive but bleeding from self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the wrist and knee. They also found Kenneth Cragle's body in the bed where Gable had left it.
Hollie Gable died about 1:30 AM on Monday at Geisinger Medical Center in Schuylkill County.
The gun used in the killings evidently belonged to Hollie Gable but was not registered in Pennsylvania, police said, and federal officials were tracing the weapon's ownership history. Ms. Gable's brief police record consisted of one arrest for retail theft.
The dead boyfriend, Cragle, has a son who escaped harm Scott Cragle was in Philadelphia for the weekend.
© 2004 Abstracted from story by Tom Coombe, The Morning Call
May 13, 2004 A Bethlehem woman subjected her boyfriend to months of physical and psychological abuse, a jury ruled Wednesday in Northampton County Court.
Jurors deliberated for two hours and 15 minutes before finding Katrina Onufer guilty of aggravated assault, two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and one count each of simple assault and reckless endangerment.
But the jury cleared Onufer, 27, of two more serious charges, attempted homicide and another aggravated assault charge. She could still face a lengthy prison term.
"I've been waiting two years for this," the boyfriend told family members after the verdict. After Onufer's arrest, he had told police that although the abuse had lasted for months, he didn't come forward because he feared she would hurt him.
"I think it validates what has said all along," Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Taschner said as she left the courtroom. "We believed in him all along."
Onufer was led away in handcuffs after Judge F. P. Kimberly McFadden agreed to raise her bail to $50,000. The judge denied a request by defense attorney George Heitczman to allow Onufer a few days to raise the money.
Onufer was arrested in May 2002 after police found her 22-year-old boyfriend bruised and bleeding. The boyfriend told police that Onufer had hit him, causing him to bleed.
She then forced her boyfriend to clean up the blood, he told police. When she decided the job wasn't up to par, she gave him a choice of "punishment." another beating or allowing her to bite his penis. He chose the latter.
As they investigated, prosecutors learned that this wasn't the first altercation, that Onufer had assaulted the man before. In her closing argument, Taschner said that during the seven-month relationship, the man was:
Beaten with pots and pans.
Had his nose broken to the point of deformity.
Forced to go without food, and at least in one instance, without sleep. By the end of the relationship, he had lost 70 pounds.
Beaten so badly he lost 80 percent of his kidney function.
For this last act, Taschner told the jury it should convict Onufer of attempted homicide, saying the damage to the man's kidneys could have killed him.
"This was malicious. It was evil," the prosecutor said. "She knew what was happening, and she didn't stop."
But Heitczman argued the prosecution's story didn't make sense, saying the boyfriend should have been able to fight off the considerably shorter Onufer. "What man would allow himself to be beaten like that?" he asked, saying that self-defense is a voluntary reaction. Why, Heitczman asked, didn't the boyfriend just leave?
Taschner offered an explanation to the jury: The man was too scared, too worn down, comparing him to a "whipped puppy, trying to please his master."
Information from York Daily Record
November 23, 2004 (AP) A woman accused of trying to hire a hit man over a romantic rivalry has pled guilty to solicitation to commit homicide and possession of instruments of crime.
Constance S. Harshbarger, 51, of Dover was ordered to return to court on Jan. 3 for sentencing, and expects to get five years of probation, according to court documents about her plea bargain.
Ms. Harshbarger was arrested on March 25 at a convenience store in Manchester Township where, police said, she was finishing a contract to have her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend killed. However, defense lawyer Michael Fenton said in court Monday that Harshbarger's former boyfriend was the target.
Abstracted in part from Williamsport Sun-Gazette
April 15, 2005 Shonda Walter, 25, bludgeoned her neighbor, 83-year-old Pearl Harbor veteran James Sementelli, 66 times with a 10-inch hatchet and denied his pleas for help before leaving him to die in March of 2003.
The prosecutor said Ms. Walter was raised by a loving mother, Judy Walter, but she started getting into debt and hanging around "bad companions" before moving back into her mother's house in late 2002 or early 2003. He further alleged that Walter was trying to get into a gang in Williamsport. That affiliation could have been a reasoning behind the brutal murder.
"She said, 'I'll solve my problems and debts...as well as getting in with the gang. I'll do that by taking a human life.'"
Prosecution attorney McGettigan showed the jury the hatchet that Ms. Walter used to kill James Sementelli, holding it up twice during his opening statements. He said Sementelli was "alive and healthy" and tried to defend himself from the blows to his body, but succumbed to "brutal injuries, many broken bones, skull injuries...and blood all over the place."
Evidence showed that after Ms. Walter first struck Sementelli with the hatchet, he asked her why she was doing that. "Because I can," the prosecutor quoted Shonda Walter. After bludgeoning James Sementelli 66 times with the hatchet she then used it to carve a cross in his stomach after which she watched television and ate ice cream before driving away in Sementelli's car, prosecutors said. Later she returned to the World War II veteran's house and stole $510 in quarters.
During the attack James Sementelli pled for Ms. Walter to call 911, "hoping for some mercy, but she struck him again and again," McGettigan said. "She said, 'Just die.' and then she took a break, smoked a cigarette while Sementelli remained alive, and she left. We don't know if he was still alive when she left."
Witnesses testified that Ms. Walter said she took a break during the slaying to recite the Lord's Prayer. She was arrested after one of her friends told police that she had come to her house wearing gloves covered in blood and confessed.
A question posed to prospective jurors was whether they had negative feelings on the case because Shonda Walter, who is black, was accused of killing James Sementelli, who was white. Only one prospective juror in each session said they had an issue with race.
On Monday, April 18, 2005, the jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes before finding her guilty of first-degree murder. On Tuesday, April 19 th the same jury sentenced her to death.
According to the Denver Post of November 23, 2005 (p. 2A) a man was shot to death in a dispute that began at a dance contest when his teenage stepson hit another boy while performing flailing dance moves, police said.
Donald Clyburn, 41, was shot in the head near his home in the city's Kensington neighborhood.
Police issued a warrant for the mother of the boy who was hit in the contest. Patricia Hayward, 39, was wanted on murder charges.
The dispute started when Clyburn's stepson, Alex Ledino, struck another boy with his elbow on November 15 during an impromptu neighborhood contest. Ledino said that it was an accident and that he apologized.
Ms. Hayward then went to the Clyburn home, got into an argument and shot Clyburn, witnesses said.
October 10, 2006 (AP) A woman used her 4-week-old baby as a weapon in a domestic dispute, swinging the infant through the air and striking her boyfriend with the child, authorities said.
The baby boy was in serious but stable condition Monday at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, police said.
"Never, never, never. I can never remember anything like this," District Attorney Bradley Foulk told the Erie Times-News.
Chytoria Graham, 27, of Erie, was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and simple assault. She was held Monday in the Erie County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.
The infant, whose name was not released, suffered a fractured skull and some bleeding in the brain, authorities said. His head hit Graham's boyfriend, the baby's father, police Lt. Dan Spizarny said.
Authorities removed four other children from Graham's home and placed them with the Erie County Office of Children and Youth, Foulk said.
August 9, 2007 (AP) A woman killed her longtime husband hours before he was to leave on a trip to Morocco to try to impregnate his new second wife, prosecutors said in filing murder charges Thursday.
Myra Morton, 47, turned herself in Thursday to face murder charges in the death of Jereleigh Morton, also 47, who was shot in his bed early Sunday morning in his million dollar home outside Philadelphia.
The killing happened just hours before Jereleigh Morton was to travel to Africa to try to conceive a baby with his second wife, whom he met on the Internet last year and married in March, prosecutors said.
Myra Morton had reluctantly agreed to the second marriage and even traveled to Morocco to sanction it under Islamic law, authorities have said.
On Sunday, she told police that an intruder had come into the bedroom and shot her husband. Authorities, though, found no signs of a break-in. He was shot twice in the head with his own gun, which had been kept in a relatively inaccessible place, authorities said.
"Myra Morton's description of events is thoroughly inconsistent with the physical evidence found at the scene," authorities wrote in an affidavit of probable cause.
Prosecutors charged Myra Morton with first-degree murder, third-degree murder and related counts. She was being held without bail pending an August 20 th hearing. She removed her veil that left only her eyes showing, customarily worn by some very conservative Muslim women, at the request of law enforcement during the arraignment.
Prosecutors suggested that jealousy and control of the Mortons' more than $6 million in assets were possible motives for the killing. "Six million dollars is an awfully large motive," First Assistant District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.
The Mortons, who hail from North Philadelphia, converted to Islam about 20 years ago. They lived in a small Philadelphia row house until a medical malpractice settlement over their teenage daughter's death netted them a reported $8 million in 2005.
A minority of Muslims take second wives, said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who added that Islamic scholars would differ on whether one could do so while living in the United States.
Prosecutors have said they aren't sure whether Pennsylvania's polygamy ban would apply to a marriage in a foreign country.
March 23, 2009 York police said a domestic dispute led to a stabbing early Sunday morning.
Police have charged Michelle Carribean with aggravated assault.
She stabbed her boyfriend, 38-year-old Michael Forrester, in the chest along the 600 block of West Princess Street, police said.
© 2009 by Brian David, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
April 6, 2009 A woman shot her ex-husband Sunday outside the home in Pine they had shared, then put police through a three-hour-plus vigil before surrendering.
Police took Lynne Agnew, 46, of Shadyside, into custody about 8:50 PM after posting SWAT teams around the house and coaxing her out with a bullhorn.
Northern Regional Police Chief Bob Amann said Ms. Agnew had a gunshot wound to the chest, and was taken to UPMC Passavant Hospital in McCandless. Her ex-husband, Daniel Kelly Agnew, 43, had sustained multiple gunshot wounds, Chief Amann said, and was flown from Passavant to one of the Pittsburgh hospitals.
According to Chief Amann, Ms. Agnew came to the Salem Heights Drive house to confront her ex-husband, and shot him about 5:38 PM. He ran into a neighbor's yard and collapsed; the neighbor called 911 and Dr. Agnew an orthopedic surgeon at Passavant was picked up by an ambulance.
Ms. Agnew retreated into the house and, according to Mr. Amann, refused to speak to police for about two hours. Chief Amann said police proceeded cautiously out of fear that the couple's two teen-aged children might be inside the house; police eventually determined that the children were at their mother's home.
About 7:30, just before SWAT teams arrived from Allegheny County Police and Northern Regional Police, there was a distinct blast from the house that could have been a gunshot.
The police crews twice tried to talk Mrs. Agnew out of the house, finally succeeding the second time. Chief Amann said county police, who will be following the case, will be exploring whether her wound was self-inflicted.
Mr. Amann said police have been called to the Agnews' house before for domestic complaints, but could not offer specifics.
Dr. Kelly Agnew known by his middle name filed for divorce on February 14, 2008, and Ms. Agnew filed for custody the same day.
August 23, 2009 (AP) A central Pennsylvania woman has been charged with stabbing her live-in boyfriend of five years to death during a domestic dispute that reportedly began as an argument over her feeding the dog before dishing out food for him.
Police say 55-year-old Pamela Poorman is charged with killing 51-year-old Larry Coletti on Thursday night in Annville Township, Lebanon County. Court records indicate Ms. Poorman took out a protection from abuse order against Coletti last year but later withdrew it.
Police say the couple had returned to their Annville Township home with takeout food and an argument began that later turned physical. Police allege that Poorman told them she picked up a knife to scare Coletti but ended up stabbing him. She later said "she was being beaten and she had to stop it." [Good old abuse excuse.]
Ms. Poorman was taken to Lebanon County Prison without bail. She indicated at her arraignment that she planned to seek a public defender.
© 2011 WPXI.com
March 18, 2011 Two people were charged after police said they assaulted one another with frying pans during a fight in Dunbar Township in Fayette County.
Investigators said Robert Eckhart, 42, of Dunbar Township, and Stacie Moorman, 37, of Texas, began fighting shortly after midnight.
When officers arrived at Eckhart's home along West Crawford Ave., they said they found him with a "severe laceration" to the top of his head and noticed blood on his arms and hands.
According to the criminal complaint, the trooper said "I asked Moorman what happened and she related the defendant was drunk, they got into an argument and he struck her with a frying pan several times."
The same trooper also then interviewed Eckhart asking him what happened. The complaint said, "I asked Eckhart what happened and he related the defendant striking him with a frying pan and he didn't know why."
Both Ms. Moorman and Eckhart were charged with simple assault and harassment.
© by Keith Phucas, The Times Herald
September 14, 2011 A Norristown woman was arrested for assaulting her ex-boyfriend with a box cutter and threatening his sister with a stun gun.
Tatiana Berry, 22, of the 100 block of Haws Avenue, was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime, possession of an electric or electronic incapacitation device, recklessly endangering another person and harassment, according to a Norristown police report.
On September 13 th at 1:22 PM, Norristown police were called to an East Spruce Street residence for a reported assault. When police arrived a woman reported that Ms. Berry came to the house looking for her brother, who is the father of Ms. Berry's child, about child support payments.
When her brother came into the house, she noticed he was cut on the forearm and on his thigh, according to the report. At some point, the suspect went to her car and returned with a stun gun and allegedly threatened the sister with the weapon.
When police questioned the boyfriend, he said Ms. Berry was waiting outside the house for him when he arrived home. During their argument over child support, she pulled a black and yellow box cutter and allegedly began swinging it at him, cutting him on the arm and his leg through his pants.
An officer detained Ms. Berry and was given permission to retrieve the box cutter and stun gun from her vehicle. The suspect, who was incarcerated at Montgomery County Prison on $10,000 bail, posted bail the next day and was released.
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