Governor Corbett Signs Execution Warrants Two Men Convicted of Murder in Allegheny and Berks Counties
HARRISBURG, Pa., June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today signed execution warrants for two men, one convicted of killing an elderly woman during a home robbery in Allegheny County, and the other convicted of killing a woman in her vehicle in Berks County.
Patrick Stollar was convicted in Allegheny County Court of first-degree murder for the beating and stabbing death of 78-year-old Jean Heck, during a robbery at her home on the afternoon of June 4, 2003.
Glenn Lyons was convicted in Berks County Court of first-degree murder for the stabbing death of Kathy Leibig in May of 2008.
Both men are incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Greene. Stollar's execution has been scheduled for Aug. 20, 2014. Lyons' execution date has been scheduled for Aug. 21, 2014.
The execution warrants signed today for Stollar and Lyons were Governor Corbett's 33rd and 34th warrants signed since taking office.
Executions in Pennsylvania are carried out by lethal injection. For more information, visit the Department of Corrections online at www.cor.state.pa.us and select "Death Penalty'' from the left-side navigation bar.
Stollar, now 36, was found guilty by a jury on February 20, 2008 and formally sentenced to death on March 24, 2008 in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.
Motivated by an interest to "get money and buy nice things," Stollar—a worker at a landscaping company that had done work on Jean Heck's property just days before her murder—went to Ms. Heck's home with the intent of robbing and killing her.
During the afternoon hours of June 4, 2003, screams were heard coming from Ms. Heck's home in Upper St. Clair Township. Ms. Heck's neighbors, after observing a man driving away in a vehicle, walked over to her home and found Ms. Heck on the floor motionless with large pools of blood surrounding her head and shoulders.
Police arrived on the scene and found Ms. Heck's purses to be rifled through. At the same time police were investigating the scene, Stollar was at his bank attempting to cash a check drawn from Ms. Heck's account, to which he was unsuccessful.
Police began a search for Stollar after one of the neighbors gave police a flyer for the landscaping company that had done work on Ms. Heck's property and finding an address linked to Stollar's vehicle on a piece of paper in Ms. Heck's home. After police entered the apartment where Stollar was staying, Stollar confessed to murdering Ms. Heck.
On June 6, 2003, Stollar took police to a wooded area behind a cemetery where he had buried a knife, blood-spattered clothing, blood covered tissues as well as Ms. Heck's checkbook, wallet and credit cards.
It was later determined by a pathologist that, although Jean Heck sustained blunt force trauma and wounds to her skull and other parts of her body, the main cause of her death was asphyxiation due to strangulation.
Lyons, now 49, was found guilty by a jury on June 2, 2011 and formally sentenced to death on July 15, 2011 in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.
On May 1, 2008, Kathy Leibig's husband returned home from work to find his wife missing. A few days later, her vehicle was spotted in a parking lot, where Mrs. Leibig's body was found inside with numerous stab wounds to her head and upper body.
A woman identified as Lyons' girlfriend contacted police on the day Mrs. Leibig's body was found and indicated to police that Lyons contacted her and told her he was "on the run." Police obtained a search warrant for Lyons' apartment and recovered kitchen knives from his apartment.
Meanwhile, Lyons was in the Lebanon area and saw Justin Grube dealing drugs on the street. Lyons asked to buy cocaine from him and, while awaiting Grube's return with the drugs, a nearby surveillance camera captured Lyons throwing a bag that contained Mrs. Leibig's personal effects, as well as a gray, bloodstained sweatshirt, into a dumpster.
Lyons was found in Philadelphia during a drug binge and arrested on May 8, 2008. Lyons denied involvement in the murder and indicated he and Mrs. Leibig were the victims of a robbery. According to Lyons, he was knocked out and later found Mrs. Leibig in her car and hugged her body while wearing the gray sweatshirt.
Trial testimony of a blood spatter expert and other experts conclusively contradicted Lyons' story. Additionally, evidence strongly established the knives found at the crime scene were of the same type found in Lyons' apartment. Grube testified that, during their drug binge, Lyons hinted at hurting Mrs. Leibig several times and indicated he took her personal effects to make the crime look like a robbery. Further, an inmate who came to know Lyons in jail testified that Lyons confessed to killing Mrs. Leibig.
It was determined from an autopsy that Kathy Leibig's death was a result of approximately 30 stab wounds to her face, chin, neck, shoulder and chest, and that she was likely conscious throughout the entire attack.
Joshua Maus, Governor's Office of General Counsel, 717-346-4463
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor