Man sentenced to death again for 2007 Pennsylvania slayings
A man has been sentenced to death again following a retrial for the slaying of two people in a suburban Philadelphia apartment more than a decade ago.
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to death again following a retrial for the slaying of two people in a suburban Philadelphia apartment more than a decade ago.
Alfonso Sanchez, 41, was sentenced Wednesday by the same Bucks County jury that convicted him of first-degree murder Monday in the 2007 shooting deaths of 27-year-old Lisa Diaz and 22-year-old Mendez Thomas in Warminster, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Prosecutors said Sanchez killed the victims over money that he believed he was owed for cocaine. He was also convicted of attempting to orchestrate a plot while behind bars to have a witness killed to prevent her from testifying — and will be sentenced later on that conviction and others.
Sanchez was also convicted in the double murder in 2008 but the appellate division of the district attorney’s office found in a review of his appeal that prosecutors had failed to turn over lab reports of DNA testing that could have aided his defense.
Prosecutors said the death penalty was warranted because there were multiple victims, other people were endangered, and other felonies were involved related to drugs and also to burglary. Authorities said he had tricked his way into the apartment under the guise of buying marijuana.
District Attorney Matt Weintraub said he was “ecstatic” to be able to bring the case to a close "for the family after they waited patiently for 16 years,” The Inquirer reported. Defense attorneys, who had argued that a codefendant committed the murders, declined to comment beyond saying that they respected the jury’s decision.
Gov. Josh Shapiro has called on state lawmakers to repeal the death penalty, and said he won’t sign death warrants and will issue reprieves on scheduled executions, extending his predecessor’s policies. Since 1978, when capital punishment was reinstated in Pennsylvania, only three people who dropped appeals have been executed.
For copyright information, check with the distributor of this item, The Philadelphia Inquirer.