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Wholaver claims he is innocent

Posted 1/8/13

He asks a judge to expunge rape charges that were filed against him, saying he intends to clear his name.

By Noelle BarrettPress And Journal Staff

It’s been 10 years since the chilling murders on North Union Street on Christmas Eve. On …

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Wholaver claims he is innocent

Posted

He asks a judge to expunge rape charges that were filed against him, saying he intends to clear his name.

By Noelle Barrett
Press And Journal Staff

It’s been 10 years since the chilling murders on North Union Street on Christmas Eve. On that night in 2002, Ernest Wholaver Jr. returned to the house from which he was banned, and shot his wife, Jean, and his two daughters, Victoria, 20, and Elizabeth, 15. Wholaver pic

He shot them to death about a month before he was to go on trial on charges he raped his daughters. Jean had filed for divorce and obtained a protection-from-abuse order against him.

Wholaver was convicted of murder in 2004, and given three death sentences. His execution was stayed in 2011 while he appeals his conviction before the state Supreme Court.

Now Wholaver has petitioned a Dauphin County Court judge to expunge the rape charges that had been filed against him, a first step in – to quote his typed legal motion – “proving his innocences in the Near future.’’

A jury acquitted Wholaver of the rape charges – because the witnesses against him were dead, noted a Dauphin County prosecutor.

Wholaver, who is being held in a state prison in western Pennsylvania, wants the charges expunged because they “are hanging ominously while dening (sic) the petitioner all reasonable opportunity to dfend (sic) his innocence of other charges,’’ he wrote in his petition.

“In other words,’’ he wrote, “as long as these false allegations even doe (sic) acquitted of them, will still linger over the petitioner. Perjuring him in his persue (sic) of his innocence.’’

 In the petition, filed with Dauphin County Judge John Cherry, Wholaver argues that he was “unlawfully charged’’ with the rapes. Those rape charges have been argued as motive for the murders, said Fran Chardo, Dauphin County First Assistant District Attorney.

Chardo argues in his own petition to the court that the rape charges against Wholaver should not be expunged, “as he achieved the acquittal through the murder of the three principal witnesses against him.”

If Wholaver was granted a retrial for the murders, the rape charges would be admissible in court, argues Chardo.
“If the defendant won a new trial, the motive would have to be proven through a reference to the expunged charges,” Chardo said.

Wholaver cannot be retried on the rape charges because he was acquitted, Chardo said, but the prosecution would be “gravely prejudiced by any expungement.”

Noelle Barrett: 717-944-4628, or noellebarrett@pressandjournal.com