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Fayette man, 33, labeled sexual predator

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Fayette County man who was 15 when he and another teenager stabbed an elderly man to death has been declared a sexually violent predator for crimes police said he committed after he was released from juvenile custody.

Judge Steve Leskinen on Monday imposed the designation on Joseph Howard Savage, 33, of West Leisenring, after a Megan's Law hearing. The designation requires Savage to register quarterly with police and to attend lifetime counseling, among other requirements.

Savage is serving 12 12 to 25 years for assaulting two 10-year-old girls in 2011 and 2012 in Uniontown and West Leisenring, according to court records. Leskinen imposed the sentences in January.

Herbert Hayes, an investigator with the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, testified Monday that Savage meets the criteria to be deemed a sexually violent predator, in part because he has a violent criminal history that began when he was a juvenile.

Hayes testified that Savage was only 15 when he and a 14-year-old boy “committed a violent murder” during a 1994 home invasion on Main Street in West Leisenring. Hayes' remarks prompted an outburst from Savage, who during his sentencing hearing in January had to be removed from the courtroom when he began yelling and cursing during the proceedings.

“How do you know it was a violent murder?” Savage said from his seat next to his public defender, Benjamin Goodwin. “Was you there? I stabbed him two times.”

Walter Magda, 77, bled to death when he was stabbed at least five times in his West Leisenring home, according to a Fayette County coroner's report. He was discovered Dec. 1, 1994, in his house, but police believe he was killed on Nov. 30, Hayes said.

Hayes said Savage used a knife to stab Magda when Magda confronted him and his accomplice during a home invasion. The 14-year-old accomplice struck Magda with a board that had a nail in it, Hayes testified.

Hayes said Savage stabbed the man several times. When the man fell to the floor but was not dead, Savage stabbed him several more times, Hayes testified.

The teens made off with $85 in cash and the victim's vehicle, according to court documents. Hayes said Savage was adjudicated delinquent and housed in a juvenile detention facility until he was released upon turning 21.

As an adult, Savage was sentenced in 2003 to four to eight years in prison in cases unrelated to the sex assaults on the two girls, Hayes said. In one of the cases, he was convicted of using a knife to rob a store clerk, Hayes testified.

Hayes testified that Savage has a “long criminal history” and suffers from an incurable antisocial personality disorder. He said it is likely he will commit crimes again when he is released from prison.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or

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