Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Court rejects appeal in slaying

on February 14, 2014 10:30 AM

UNIONTOWN (AP) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a western Pennsylvania man facing retrial in the 1987 stabbing death of a waitress.

Mark Breakiron, 52, of Hopwood, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in the 1987 murder of Saundra Martin, 24, of Smithfield, after the robbery of Shenanigan’s Lounge in German Township.

A federal judge in 2011 overturned the conviction, citing tainted testimony from another inmate.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the state’s highest court on Wednesday rejected a challenge to a lower court decision denying Breakiron’s request that jurors not be allowed to hear evidence of torture and robbery during a retrial.

The high court also rejected a double jeopardy argument against a new trial at which prosecutors will again seek capital punishment.

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