PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Washington County man is scheduled to be executed sometime next month, but the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim.
Governor Tom Corbett has signed nearly three dozen death warrants since coming to office, but no one has been executed in Pennsylvania in 15 years.
Six years ago, Patrick Stollar, a landscaper from Washington County, told a jury that he robbed, beat and stabbed to death 78-year-old Jean Heck in her Upper St. Clair home in 2003. He was sentenced to die. During his trial, where he acted as his own attorney, Stollar said, “I was prepared to die and I am right now.”
Now that the governor has signed the warrant for Stollar, he’s scheduled to be executed sometime next month.
“Every single death penalty case gets an automatic review to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania,” defense attorney Phillip DiLucente said, “and then if they choose to exhaust their appeals to the United States Supreme Court – only then will they be executed.”
The last person that was executed by lethal injection in Pennsylvania was Gary Heidnik in July 1999. Heidnik was convicted of killing two of six women he kidnapped, raped and tortured in his Philadelphia apartment.
On April 29, 2014, the botched execution by lethal injection of Clayton Lockett in an Oklahoma prison is currently the focus of a lawsuit filed by death row inmates.
“Some would argue that it’s never humane to kill anyone under any circumstances,” DiLucente said, “and that’s the debate that continues on in Pennsylvania and this country.”