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Wolf declares moratorium on death penalty

wholaverphoto2 18 15Press and Journal File Photo -- Ernest Wholaver on death row


Gov. Tom Wolf declared a moratorium on Pennsylvania’s death penalty on Friday, Feb. 13 until he receives a forthcoming report by a state task force on capital punishment.


Wolf said he imposed the moratorium “after significant consideration and reflection,’’ but will wait until the bipartisan Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment, created by a state Senate resolution in 2011, completes its report.


The moratorium “is in no way an expression of sympathy for the guilty on death row,’’ but is needed while the task force studies whether the death penalty is applied fairly in Pennsylvania so that “we eliminate the risk of executing an innocent,’’ Wolf said.


In a joint statement, the state Legislature’s two highest-ranking Republicans, Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) and Senate Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana County), called Wolf’s moratorium “a political statement without public discourse or input. Or, apparently, without any consideration for those the victims left behind.’’


“Should Pennsylvania have a death penalty discussion? Yes, and our Judiciary Committee will be doing just that – through our open and transparent legislative process,’’ the legislators said in their statement.


Pennsylvania has the fifth largest death row in the nation, with 186 inmates, including Ernest Wholaver, who shot his wife Jean and two daughters –Victoria, 20, and Elizabeth, 14 – to death in their Middletown home on Christmas Eve Day in 2002.


Wholaver, who received three death penalties in 2004, has appealed the sentences in a Post-Conviction Relief Act petition he filed in 2012.


Dauphin County Judge John Cherry threw out 21 of 25 claims Wholaver made in his petition in 2013, and two additional claims in May. But two remaining claims – a claim of juror misconduct and another that the prosecution violated Wholaver’s rights by allegedly failing to disclose exculpatory and impeachment evidence – are still to be decided by the county court.

Jim Lewis: 717-944-4628, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 15:33

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Two Londonderry sections targeted for municipal sewer


 Two areas of Londonderry Twp. could be targeted for connection to municipal sewage systems under a proposed plan the township is now drafting for submission to state environmental officials.

The township held a public hearing outlining the plan in January, and supervisors continued discussing it during their Feb. 2 meeting, and raised additional questions. 

Currently Londonderry has about 5,230 residents in 1,885 residences of which only seven are served by municipal sanitary sewer. Eliminating the need for pumping and inspections of on-lot sewage treatment systems may enhance a home’s retail value in the township where the median owner occupied home value is estimated to be $154,400, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 15:31

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PIPELINE PROTEST: In Londonderry, local landowners oppose Sunoco natural gas project

meetingphoto2 18 15WEBPress And Journal Photo by Eric Wise -- Shannon Watson, of Conewago Twp., gestures as she asks Sunoco’s Don Zoladkiewicz and Jeff Shields a question during a meeting at the Londonderry Fire Hall.

Sunoco Logistics officials welcomed Dauphin County landowners to a meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at the Londonderry Fire Hall to discuss the construction of a new natural gas pipeline that would slice through their property, providing guests with diagrams, handouts and a group of employees manning information stations.

The property owners – some 106 of them, including many from the Middletown area – would be guided to tables with maps, speaking individually with the panel that Sunoco assembled as if they were visiting a craft show, albeit one with a few Pennsylvania State Police troopers lurking about the room.

But many of the guests wanted no part of that program.


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goodmap2 18 15WEB


Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 15:14

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Natural gas pipeline meeting set for Londonderry


Sunoco Logistics will hold an informational meeting in Londonderry Twp. with Dauphin County landowners whose property is part of the location of a proposed 350-mile pipeline that would carry natural gas liquids from western Pennsylvania to a processing facility near Philadelphia.

The meeting about the pipeline project, known as Mariner East 2, is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at the Londonderry Fire Company, 2655 Foxianna Road.

Project supervisors will discuss the restoration of land where the pipeline will be constructed and health and safety measures that will be taken during and after construction, among other things.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 February 2015 15:26

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Man sought in Craigslist ad robbery, assault


He wanted to buy a television.moorephoto2 11 15WEBZachary Moore

He responded to a Craigslist advertisement for a TV, and the seller agreed to meet him at Movi-E-town Cinema in Elizabethtown to complete the sale. A woman met him outside the theater and led him to the rear of the building to complete the transaction, Elizabethtown police said.

As they rounded a corner, an unidentified man struck the buyer in the head and arm with a baseball bat, police said.
A year after the incident, police have identified the man they say wielded the bat.

Police issued a warrant on Tuesday, Feb. 3 for the arrest of Zachary T. Moore, 22, of Rehrersburg, formerly of Elizabethtown, who they have charged with robbery, criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, aggravated assault and theft from a motor vehicle.
Moore is still at large, police said. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Elizabethtown police at 717-367-1835.

Police had arrested Amber Consylman, 20, of Elizabethtown, in January 2014 and charged her with robbery, criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, aggravated assault and theft from a motor vehicle, according to court records. Lancaster County Court Judge James P. Cullen granted a continuance of a trial on the charges on Jan. 22, according to court records. Consylman is free on $100,000 bail.

Jim Lewis: 717-944-4628, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 February 2015 15:20

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