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State's highest court to debate longer prison term for murderer

| Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 5:47 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear arguments from the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office on why a man convicted of third-degree murder for beating a woman who died 14 years later should receive a longer prison term.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kathleen Durkin in 2010 sentenced Stevenson Rose, 49, to serve 20 to 40 years in prison for the 1993 beating death of Mary Mitchell at Larimer Park in East Liberty. Mitchell survived the attack, but her injuries left her in a vegetative state, and she died in September 2007.

Police said Rose and another man admitted to beating and stomping Mitchell after she became irate that the men had not held up their end of a bargain to provide her with crack in exchange for sex.

Rose appealed his sentence, saying he should have been sent to prison for 10 to 20 years — the penalty for third-degree murder in 1993 — not 20 to 40 years, the penalty that was in place when Mitchell died.

The Superior Court agreed with Rose in November, but the DA's office appealed to the state's highest court, arguing the crime occurred at the time of Mitchell's death, not her beating.

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