Crawford DA Will Not Seek Death Penalty In Brutal Murder - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Crawford DA Will Not Seek Death Penalty In Brutal Murder

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The Crawford County DA says he will not seek the death penalty, against the 2 women charged in the beating death of a third woman.
If convicted, Jade Olmstead and Ashley Barber will face life in prison without parole, when they head to trial in November.
The DA says, while the murder was brutal, he's not seeking the death penalty because the facts in the case do not support seeking it under Pennsylvania law.
Olmstead and Barber are charged in the murder of 20 year old Brandy Stevens.
It happened back in May, near Cochranton.
The suspects admitted to hitting Stevens on the head with a shovel, strangling her, then burying alive in a shallow grave.
The DA will seek a first degree murder conviction.

Following is the full news release from the district attorney:


 

 

 

 

 

 

OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY

CRAWFORD COUNTY COURT HOUSE

MEADVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA  16335-2696

NEWS RELEASE

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    

August 24, 2012                                               

 

 

DISTRICT ATTORNEY NOT TO SEEK DEATH PENALTY FOR

DEFENDANTS ASHLEY BARBER* AND JADE OLMSTEAD*

MEADVILLE, PA – Crawford County District Attorney Francis Schultz announced today that the criminal homicide case against Defendant Ashley Barber* and Defendant Jade Olmstead* will be a first-degree murder prosecution, but that the facts of the case do not support seeking the death penalty under Pennsylvania law.

 "After careful consideration of the law and the facts that have been uncovered in the investigation of this case, I have decided not to seek the death penalty against either defendant," stated Crawford County District Attorney Francis J. Schultz.  "Although the allegations surrounding the murder of Brandy Stevens suggest that the attack that led to her death was brutal, those allegations alone are not sufficient to warrant the seeking of the death penalty under Pennsylvania law."

 Pursuant to the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania a prosecutor may only seek the death penalty in a case of an alleged first-degree murder if at least one of eighteen aggravating circumstances is present. 

"In this case there is no evidence to prove any of the death penalty's qualifying aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt," said Schultz.  "This decision was not one that was made lightly or without first consulting other prosecutors in my office and the Pennsylvania State Police."

Schultz noted he has also spoken with the family of Ms. Stevens.

The Office of District Attorney will be seeking murder in the first-degree convictions that carry a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment against both Defendants. 

# # #

             **Pursuant to the Rules of Professional Conduct that all attorneys in Pennsylvania are bound by, I must note that the charges against Defendant Barber and Defendant Olmstead are merely accusations and each Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

 

 

                                                                                    _________________________________

                                                                                    FRANCIS J. SCHULTZ, ESQUIRE

                                                                                    Crawford County District Attorney

 

 

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