News

Death penalty imposed on woman in 2003 slaying thrown out

Written by The Associated Press | Aug 7, 2016 8:26 AM
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(Lock Haven) -- A central Pennsylvania judge has thrown out the death penalty imposed on a woman convicted of killing her World War II-veteran neighbor with a hatchet more than a dozen years ago.

Clinton County Senior Judge Michael Williamson said 37-year-old Shonda Walter had inadequate attorney representation in the 2003 murder of 83-year-old James Sementelli in his Lock Haven home.

Prosecutors said Walter killed Sementelli - a veteran of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor - so she could steal and sell his car to pay off court debts and gain entry into a street gang.

Walter was the only woman remaining on death row in Pennsylvania.

In an order dated July 26, Williamson resentenced her to life in prison without possibility of parole.

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