Dates set for hearings in death row inmate's case

December 18, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Albert E. Reid
Submitted photo

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A death row inmate convicted in Franklin County, Pa., returned to Chambersburg on Tuesday for a hearing related to his claims of inadequate performance from his attorneys, improper jury instructions and prosecutorial misconduct.

Albert E. Reid, 64, formerly of Biglerville, Pa., was found guilty in the Dec. 27, 1996, killing of his estranged wife, Carla Reid, then 36, and her 14-year-old daughter Deidra Moore in a Sollenberger Road home outside Chambersburg.

On Tuesday, a specially assigned senior judge, David Grine, presided over a status conference and scheduled a pair of hearings.

Six attorneys who have worked on Reid’s case are expected to testify March 21 and 22, 2013. The judge identified July 29 to Aug. 2, 2013, as the dates to hear from 30 other individuals, many of whom live in Jamaica and England.

“We have quite a long witness list,” said Keisha Hudson, a federal community defender representing Reid.

Reid urged the judge for expediency.

“I’m asking that the case move and move in (a) timely manner, sir,” he said.

There were no witnesses to the crimes, even though the victims were shot while sleeping in beds with Carla Reid’s other children. Pennsylvania State Police never found the murder weapon, according to published reports.

Reid has filed several post-trial motions, including the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) filing that served as the basis for Tuesday’s hearing. Among the defendant’s claims in that PCRA is one saying a voodoo expert should have been used at trial, according to online court documents.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed Reid’s conviction and sentence on Sept. 27, 2002. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the case in 2003.

Reid is incarcerated in a maximum-security state prison in Greene County, Pa. All of the state’s death row inmates are involved in a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania challenging the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s lethal injection procedures.

The (Harrisburg, Pa.) Patriot-News reported Chester v. Beard concerns the possibility of excruciating pain caused by two of the three drugs used in lethal injection. The newspaper said the lawsuit has the potential to stay all executions in the state, which hasn’t executed an inmate in more than a decade, while it is resolved.

One other man remains on death row from a Franklin County case. Michael B. Singley, now 36, pleaded guilty in the November 1998 stabbing death of a Chambersburg woman and her next-door neighbor. He, too, has filed a PCRA petition claiming his guilty pleas were unlawfully induced.

Currently, the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office is pursuing the death penalty in three homicide cases headed to trial.

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