Yablonski killer won't be released
The last living man convicted of gunning down United Mine Workers union reformer Joseph "Jock" Yablonski, his wife and daughter in Washington County won't be getting out of prison, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The state's high court denied requests from Paul Gilly, 78, who is serving three life terms for his convictions of being a triggerman in the 1969 deaths. Gilly, who was convicted in 1972, filed a 19-page handwritten request in May, arguing that he helped the government secure other convictions and that he has served his time.
Gilly claimed that Pennsylvania law says a prison "sentence is excessive if it deviates from guidelines or exceeds maximum statutory penalty" and "said maximum for felony of the first-degree sentence is twenty (20) years." He wrote that since he was arrested in January 1970, he should have been released from prison in January 1990.
Gilly was an unemployed house painter in Cleveland when Yablonski, 59, his wife, Margaret, 59, and their daughter, Charlotte, 25, were shot to death in their Clarksville home by three assassins hired by a UMW political foe.
Gilly agreed to cooperate with the prosecution and appear as a commonwealth witness in the trial of UMW president W.A. "Tony" Boyle, who eventually was sentenced to three life terms for the Yablonski family deaths. Boyle died in 1985.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.