Lower Burrell woman who helped police officer's killer hide gets probation
A Lower Burrell woman was sentenced Monday to two years' probation for helping fugitive Charlie Post elude capture in the days before he killed Lower Burrell Patrolman Derek Kotecki in 2011.
Westmoreland County President Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr. handed down the sentence to Amanda Christyn Walters, 25, of Cleveland Drive.
“You appear to me to have reflected on all of what has happened,” McCormick said to Walters. “Letters from family and friends said you have a good heart and an inclination to help people, particularly the elderly members of your family. Hopefully, you will not make such a bad judgment ever again.
“Try to make some success for yourself.”
McCormick instructed Walters to enroll in a high school diploma equivalency program and not to have contact with the Kotecki family.
Assistant District Attorney Leo J. Ciaramitaro had asked McCormick for a six-month jail sentence for Walters.
“The Commonwealth is not blaming her for the actual death. However, her actions contributed to Post being able to hide,” he said.
“If Miss Walters would have used a cell phone and called police, obviously Officer Kotecki may still be alive today.”
From the bench, McCormick said Amanda Walters' probation is in the standard range of sentencing.
The six-month jail sentence that Ciaramitaro had sought is within the range of sentencing involving aggravating circumstances that could apply at the judge's discretion because of Kotecki's death.
Kotecki's father, Richard, of Lower Burrell and Lower Burrell police Chief Tim Weitzel attended the sentencing.
“Lower Burrell police and the Kotecki family are extremely disappointed with Judge McCormick's sentences for both Nicole and Amanda Walters,” Weitzel said.
Amanda Walters apologizes
When addressing the court Monday, a crying Walters apologized to Kotecki's family and Lower Burrell police.
In a soft and at times wavering voice, Walters said she was “very sorry” and “remorseful.”
Walters said she and her aunt, Nicole Walters, wouldn't have been involved if they knew helping Post would end in Kotecki's death.
Last week, McCormick sentenced Nicole M. Walters, 39, of Lower Burrell, to two years of probation with six months of house arrest.
Prior to Walters' sentencing, defense attorney Ryan Matthew Tutera told the court that her father died when she was a year old and she later was abused until she went to live with her grandparents.Records show she attended school as far as 11th grade.
As is standard procedure, Walters was ordered to submit to random drug-and-alcohol testing during probation and pay court costs. She must pay for mental health and drug and alcohol evaluations and counseling, if the evaluation shows the need.
The Kotecki killing
On Oct. 2, 2011, Charlie Post, 33, fired a number of gunshots at a man in the Clarion Hotel parking lot in New Kensington.
Prosecutors said he was on the run when his brother, Chad, helped him to escape. Later he got help to hide.
Ten days later, prosecutors said, James A. “Lutzo” Ameris III tipped police that he would be driving Charlie Post to the Lower Burrell Dairy Queen in a white Jeep at about 7 p.m. Ameris went into the restaurant while Post stayed in the Jeep.
As Kotecki, armed with a rifle, approached the Jeep, Post fired a .40-caliber pistol repeatedly through a closed back window, county detectives said.
Kotecki was hit twice and died.
Post then got out of the SUV and ran to the rear of the parking lot. Trapped by a chain-link fence, he squatted near a Dumpster, turned his pistol to his head and fired one shot, Westmoreland County Coroner Kenneth A. Bacha said in a report.
Bacha said that autopsy indicated that Post “didn't die instantaneously.”
Police car-dashboard camera footage shows that within the next 30 seconds or so after Post shot himself, Post was still alive and clutching the pistol and ignoring orders to put the gun down when a New Kensington police officer shot him twice.
Show commenting policy
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 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.
- ‘Wax weed’ worries authorities
- Freeport VFW initiates its ‘monumental project’
- Lower Burrell couple charged with 6 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty
- Pyrotechnics display turns from benefit to burden in Tarentum
- New Kensington dedicates fireworks festivities to longtime coordinator
- Soggy conditions don’t deter people from Springdale jubilee
- Brackenridge gets $98K federal grant to fund waterline project
- Plum landslide to be fixed after year
- State store relocates to Highlands Mall
- New Kensington residents rally in support of 82-year-old robbery victim
- Alle-Kiski Valley seniors get free lift to doctor’s office