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Woman who killed mother seeks release

It's been 23 years since Helen Cecilia Bevilacqua was sent to prison for killing her mother in her Midway-St. Clair home in Hempfield.

Bevilacqua is scheduled to appear in Westmoreland County court this morning to ask a judge to release her from prison and end a sentence that could keep her behind bars until 2012.

Through a new attorney, Emily Smarto, Bevilacqua, 43, wants to be released from custody and discharged from her eight- to 20-year sentence.

That sentence was imposed in early 1986 by retired Judge Gilfert Mihalich after Bevilacqua and her boyfriend, Philip "Rusty" Dlubak of Manor, were convicted of third-degree murder in the Feb. 18, 1985, slaying of 42-year-old Helen Marie Bevilacqua.

The jury found that then 20-year-old Helen Cecilia Bevilacqua fired nine shots at her mother with a .22-caliber revolver, hitting her six times. Dlubak, 22, was convicted as an accomplice.

Each previously confessed to being the killer, according to police. They were trying to protect each other and take responsibility for a crime they did not commit, defense attorneys unsuccessfully argued to a jury.

Bevilacqua has been in and out of jail during the past 13 years, according to court records.

She was paroled in 1993, but returned to prison two years later after being arrested on two drunken-driving offenses.

She was paroled again in November 1996, but fled the jurisdiction and was classified as an absconder in January 1998, records show. A year later, she was found and sent back to jail.

She was paroled a third time in December 1999. Two years later, she was charged with drunken driving in Somerset County. When she failed to appear for court appearances later that year, she was declared delinquent. She was not found until 2005, when she was again jailed.

In March 2005, Bevilacqua was sentenced to serve six months to three years in jail on the drunken-driving offense.

Those subsequent drunken-driving offenses, as well as her time on parole and while on the lam, have extended her maximum incarceration date on the murder sentence to 2012, according to court records.

In a court filing on Bevilacqua's behalf, Smarto argued that the time her client spent out of prison and free on parole should count toward her sentence.

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