Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Court upholds murder conviction

by on September 07, 2013 10:59 AM

The state Superior Court has upheld the conviction of a man serving a life sentence for the 2001 murder of a Plumville woman.

In a ruling issued Wednesday, the court rejected Randy Whitacre’s latest appeal of the life sentence he is serving for the murder of Theresa Dalessio. He is incarcerated at SCI Benner in Centre County.

Whitacre shot Dalessio, 32, and injured her 18-month-old son when he broke into their house the night of Oct. 6, 2001. According to state police, Whitacre had been upset about the slow pace of a lawsuit against Dalessio’s husband, Douglas.

This appeal was the latest of several Whitacre has made since his 2003 conviction. The first ended in 2005 when the Superior Court upheld his sentence and the Supreme Court denied his request to appeal. Another appeal made on different grounds was rejected by the Superior Court in 2012.

In this latest appeal, his second under the Post Conviction Relief Act, Whitacre alleged prosecutorial misconduct and ineffectiveness of prior counsel. But the Indiana County Court of Common Pleas rejected the appeal, saying it hadn’t been filed on time.

The Superior Court agreed, saying in an opinion that not only was the appeal filed too late, he didn’t clearly indicate how prosecutors supposedly acted inappropriately.

Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for the Indiana Gazette. Among her assignments are coverage of the Apollo-Ridge School and Penns Manor Area school districts and also White Township.
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