In the News: Arsonist charged with murder for heart attack deaths

Posted by on Oct 23, 2009 in Homicide, In the News |

Rickie Lee Fowler has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder after after five men died from heart attacks during the 2003 San Bernadino wildfires. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Victor Strull contends that, even though the men did not die in the fire, their deaths were the direct result of Fowler setting the fire. Under the felony-murder rule, a defendant can be charged with murder when a victim dies during the commission of...

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In the News: Murder conviction overturned after DA withholds evidence

Posted by on Dec 11, 2008 in Homicide, Prosecutorial Misconduct |

Centre County Court of Common Pleas Judge Bradley P. Lunsford overturned the third-degree murder conviction of Andrew Rogers after ruling that the district attorney improperly withheld evidence. Rogers was convicted of killing Youngcheol Park. After his arrest, Rogers claimed that Park and someone by the name of “Sweet” tried to rob him and that Park’s killing was in self-defense. While the prosecution dismissed Rogers’...

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Commentary: The Casey Anthony Case

Posted by on Oct 28, 2008 in High Profile Cases, Homicide |

Last week, Casey Anthony was charged with first degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and other charges. These charges were filed although the body of Caylee Anthony has not been recovered. In Florida, a body is not necessary to support a murder conviction. Therefore, if the state presents circumstantial evidence that shows that the alleged victim is dead, the state can convict a defendant of murder. Could...

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BriefLaw: Commonwealth v. Morris

Posted by on Oct 9, 2008 in Case Law Summaries, Homicide, Mandatory Sentence, sentencing |

Commonwealth v. Morris 2008 PA Super 235Topic: Enhanced Sentencing-HomicideSummary: For sentencing purposes, where two murders are tried together, the second charge may be used to give the defendant a mandatory life sentence under 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9715. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn...

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Novel Criminal Defenses: Westmoreland County Man Claims War Stress as Basis for Double Murder

Posted by on Oct 5, 2008 in Criminal Defenses, Gulf War Syndrome, Homicide, Novel Defenses, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder |

A Westmoreland County man is currently raising a defense of Gulf War Syndrome or post-traumatic stress disorder. Scott A. Laich, who served in Iraq in 1991, was first convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and her lover in 1997. Due to improperly admitted hearsay evidence, the Pennsylvania Superior Court overturned this conviction in 2001. Commonwealth v. Laich, 777 A.2d 1057 (Pa. Super. 2001). Laich was re-tried and convicted in 2003. Laich is...

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