Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Governor Rendell Signs Three Execution Warrants

Governor Edward G. Rendell has signed execution warrants for Kenneth Hairston, Cletus Rivera and Jerry Chambers. The three offenders are being held in the State Correctional Institution at Greene.

Hairston, 59, of Allegheny County, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for killing his wife, Katherine, and their teenage autistic son, Sean, in June 2001. He is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

In August 2008, Rivera, 28, was convicted of the shooting death of Reading police officer Scott Wertz. Officer Wertz was pursuing Rivera after responding to an altercation outside of a local convenience store in August 2006. Rivera was believed to have fired gunshots during the fight. Rivera's execution is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Chambers, 38, was sentenced to death in May 2005 for murdering three-year-old Porchia Bennett in Philadelphia on Aug. 16, 2003. His execution date is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 21.

With these three warrants, Governor Rendell has now signed 113 execution warrants. None of those warrants have resulted in an execution. The last person executed in Pennsylvania was Gary Heidnik. He was executed on July 6, 1999. He kidnapped, tortured and raped six women and kept them prisoner in his Philadelphia basement. He murdered two of his victims.

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