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Death penalty sought for Pa. man charged in shooting death

December 19, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Carl Varner
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CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty for a Chambersburg resident accused of bursting into a home and killing a man Oct. 22.

On Wednesday, the Franklin County (Pa.) District Attorney’s Office filed the paperwork necessary for it to pursue the death penalty during the trial of Carl Varner, 54, of 238 E. McKinley St.

Chambersburg police say 29-year-old Victor Hugo Campos-Olguin died when Varner and another man fired shots inside a home in the 300 block of East King Street.

Varner appeared before Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Carol L. Van Horn on Wednesday for mandatory arraignment.

“It’s our intent today to enter not guilty pleas on all 28 counts,” Eric Weisbrod, one of Varner’s two court-appointed attorneys, told the judge.

Varner is charged with first- and second-degree murder, robbery, burglary, conspiracy and kidnapping among the 28 criminal counts filed in his case.

The district attorney’s office cites killing while in perpetration of a felony, the risk to others and the defendant’s criminal history in the “notice of aggravating circumstances” necessary for it to seek lethal injection.

First Assistant District Attorney Jeremiah Zook, who is prosecuting the case, told Van Horn he also filed notice to join Varner’s case with the one pending against Jason C. Shauf.

That notice means Varner and Shauf, 38, will be joined for one trial unless the judge decides to separate them beforehand, Zook said.

Shauf, of Chambersburg, also is charged with first- and second-degree murder from the same incident. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 9.

Zook would not comment on whether the district attorney’s office will pursue the death penalty for Shauf.

Both Varner and Shauf are incarcerated in the Franklin County Jail.

The search for Varner and Shauf resulted in two standoffs with police, including one on Sollenberger Road outside of Chambersburg and another outside Varner’s home at 238 E. McKinley St. Varner eventually surrendered to police at his home and Shauf was taken into custody earlier in the day.

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