Competency test sought for defendant in brutal Fayette slaying
The public defender for one of the men accused in a brutal Fayette County homicide wants a judge to order a competency exam for his client.
In a motion, Jeffrey Whiteko requested a court order allowing an expert from Torrance State Hospital in Derry Township to evaluate Paul Jerome Bannasch at the county jail in Uniontown.
Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty against Bannasch and Craig Rugg, both 24, in the June 22 slaying of Margaret “Peggy Sue” Kriek, 52.
Witnesses saw the three drinking at Sidewinders bar in Connellsville shortly before they were seen near the Amtrak station in the city, according to a criminal complaint.
Police said the suspects beat Kriek near the station and dumped her body in the nearby Youghiogheny River, where it was discovered by Boy Scouts on June 22.
An autopsy report said Kriek died of strangulation before her body was placed in the river.
She had blunt-force trauma injuries to her head and body, a rib fracture, a broken neck and lacerations and abrasions to her heels, legs, torso and arms, according to police.
In the motion seeking the exam, Whiteko said the request is based partially on his client's conduct during interviews. The motion does not describe the behavior.
Rugg's court-appointed attorney has not yet filed any pretrial motions, in part because Rugg has not been formally arraigned. His arraignment is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 15 before Judge Nancy Vernon.
Both men are being held in the Fayette County Prison without bond.
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Somerset Trust Train Station Complex in Connellsville to hold grand opening
- Burglars take $200 from Clark Elementary School
- Fayette to open central district court
- Connellsville council told Highlands Hospital has prevention plan for Ebola
- New consignment store specializes in dance, formal wear
- Frazier’s $22M school construction project moving on schedule
- Pa. candidates address equal rights, economic equity in Connellsville
- Fayette seeks ownership of building for jail
- Sheetz to expand in Bullskin
- Sewage plans for hotel, Sheetz OK’d by Connellsville council
- Jobs are focus in 52nd District House race in Westmoreland, Fayette