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Unity man appeals murder conviction

Thursday, May 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A Unity man who pleaded guilty last year to killing his sister's boyfriend two decades ago now claims there is “no evidence” against him.

Robert Daniels, 44, has filed an appeal of his third-degree murder conviction for which he is serving a prison sentence of eight to 16 years.

Daniels pleaded guilty in October to a reduced charge to avoid a potential sentence of life in prison had he been convicted of first-degree homicide for the slaying of 18-year-old Curtis Eutsey.

Police said Daniels confessed to playing a role in Eutsey's death after his bones were discovered by two men looking for scrap metal in a wooded area of Mt. Pleasant Township in March 2010.

Eutsey, who was last seen walking from his girlfriend's home, was killed between April 1, 1990, and Nov. 26, 1992, according to the prosecution.

In court testimony, police said Daniels confessed that he drove Eutsey to a spot on Misty Meadows Road and the two walked about 20 yards into the woods.

A shotgun was fired, and the flash illuminated the face of his cousin, Tim Daniels, who allegedly threatened Robert Daniels and told him not to tell anyone about the shooting.

Prosecutors said there is no evidence linking Tim Daniels to the murder.

Forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht testified that an autopsy of the bones found cranial injuries that could have resulted from blunt-force trauma or a gunshot wound to the head.

In his appeal, Robert Daniels said there is a lack of evidence against him and he claims he received ineffective legal advice from public defenders Chris Huffman and Patrice DiPietro.

Daniels wrote that the district attorney and witnesses “couldn't say for sure that it was a homicide,”

Westmoreland County Judge Al Bell has appointed Daniels a new lawyer, Greensburg attorney James Robinson, to handle the appeal.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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