HARRISBURG, Pa. - Seven convicted killers from Berks County are among 137 prisoners -- all men -- presently occupying a cell on Pennsylvania's death row.
They await their sentence as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considers a request to outlaw the state's death penalty because of what critics call the cruel way it's applied to black and poor defendants.
Opponents in court Wednesday said that more than half of the 441 death sentences handed down since the 1970s have been overturned. They said the Supreme Court needs to declare the system unconstitutional because lawmakers have failed to act.
Supporters said the high reversal rate means the appeals process is working.
The court did not indicate when it would rule.
Berks County's death row inmates are:
- Richard Boxley, sentenced on Oct. 27, 2000, for the murder of Jason Bolton in Reading in 1997. He is incarcerated at SCI Phoenix in Montgomery County;
- Jose Busanet, sentenced on March 22, 1999, for the murder of Jason Bolton in Reading in 1997. He is incarcerated at SCI Greene in Greene County;
- Randy Haag, sentenced on Sept. 25, 1987, for the murder of Richard Good in 1982. He is incarcerated at SCI Greene;
- Glenn Lyons, sentenced on July 15, 2011, for the murder of Kathy Leibig in South Heidelberg Township in 2008. He is incarcerated at SCI Greene;
- Albert Perez, sentenced on May 27, 2009, for the murders of his ex-girlfriend, Duceliz Diaz, and her five-year-old daughter, Kayla, in Bernville in 2007. He is incarcerated at SCI Phoenix;
- Michael Pruitt, sentenced on May 3, 2005, for the murder of Greta Gougler in Reading in 2002. He is incarcerated at SCI Greene;
- Cletus Rivera, sentenced on Aug. 14, 2008, for the murder of Reading police Ofc. Scott Wertz in 2006. He is incarcerated at SCI Greene.
Berks County-based Tower Health and Drexel University have emerged as the winning bidders in an auction of St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.Read More »
- Season's historic apples almost history at Hopewell Furnace
- 12th annual Boyertown Oktoberfest celebration underway
- Kutztown 1st stop on PASSHE chancellor's state campus tour
- With taxes paid, county calls off sale of Bieber property
- Gathering in Reading part of global focus on climate change
- Fleetwood street named in honor of late borough councilman
- Updated Tower Health, Drexel win bid to acquire children's hospital
- Updated Coroner identifies 2 men killed in Monroe County plane crash
- Officers arrest 18 in operation involving helicopter in Allentown
- Passenger ejected from sports car in Route 22 crash still in critical condition
- Updated International Parking Day celebrated with food drive in Allentown
- Updated Local nurse uses support group to help those who have needed ostomy surgery
- Updated People rally in Bethlehem and Allentown as part of worldwide climate change protests
- Updated Season's historic apples almost history at Hopewell Furnace
- Updated 12th annual Boyertown Oktoberfest celebration underway
- Exhibit featuring costumes worn by movie legends to open in Allentown Art Museum