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Murderer seeks appeal from state's top bench

| Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The attorney for a Fayette County man sentenced to death in 1988 for the stabbing death of Saundra Marie Martin has petitioned the state Supreme Court for an allowance of appeal.

Sam Davis of Uniontown filed the petition on Monday on behalf of Mark David Breakiron, formerly of Hopwood.

Breakiron, 52, was convicted of homicide and robbery. He won a new trial when a federal judge ruled in May 2011 that prosecutors withheld evidence about a jailhouse snitch that could have been used to impeach his testimony against Breakiron.

Martin worked as a waitress at Shenanigan's Lounge in German Township to earn money to go to school to become a dental hygienist.

She was closing the business for the night when Breakiron attacked her, took her purse and the bar's receipts, and drove her to his grandparents' house in South Union, where he tortured and killed her, according to police.

Breakiron's trial is not set to begin until at least December, pending the outcome of the Supreme Court appeal.

During an Aug. 29 hearing in which Breakiron waived his right to a speedy trial, Davis told Fayette County Judge Steve Leskinen he intended to appeal a recent Superior Court decision to the state Supreme Court.

A panel of three judges recently quashed the Superior Court appeal, in which Davis had sought to overturn Leskinen's decisions denying a claim of double jeopardy and allowing the aggravating circumstances of torture and robbery at the retrial.

The Superior Court judges quashed the appeal without even considering Davis' arguments.

In court records, the judges said although Leskinen approved the appeal to Superior Court, Davis was still required to file a petition with the higher court seeking permission to do so before he filed the actual appeal.

In addition, the judges said Davis missed a 30-day deadline to appeal Leskinen's denial of the double jeopardy claim.

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

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