Unity man's guilty plea stands in 1992 Westmoreland County killing
A Westmoreland County judge has rejected the bid of a Unity man to withdraw his guilty plea to third-degree murder in the slaying of his sister's boyfriend more than two decades ago.
Judge Al Bell, in a 24-page opinion issued on Wednesday, ruled there was no evidence to substantiate claims from Robert Daniels that he received improper legal advice to plead guilty last year.
Daniels, 44, pleaded guilty to the 1992 murder of 18-year-old Curtis Eutsey and is serving a prison sentence of eight to 16 years.
Scavengers looking for scrap metal in a secluded Mt. Pleasant field found Eutsey's remains in 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.
Daniels contended he should not have been advised by public defenders Chris Huffman and Patrice DiPietro to plead guilty because there was insufficient evidence to prove that a murder occurred.
“... The totality of the same evidence might well have been sufficient to support a guilty verdict for the offense of murder of the first degree, which would have resulted in the petitioner serving a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole,” Bell wrote.
In court testimony, police said Daniels confessed that he drove Eutsey to a spot on Misty Meadows Road, near where the victim's bones were found, 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, Robert Daniels told police.
Prosecutors have said there is no evidence linking Tim Daniels to the murder.
During a pretrial hearing last year, 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 to the head.
In denying the appeal, Bell ruled Daniels knowingly and voluntarily pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree murder.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 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.
- Greensburg plastic surgeon pleads not guilty to charges of interfering with painkiller investigation
- Wyano woman accused of sex with 15-year-old boy
- Westmoreland County’s prison board to consider inmate service projects
- With $4M in bank from municipal authority sale, financially strapped Jeannette exhales
- Part-time prison guards wanted in Westmoreland
- Feud escalates between Westmoreland commissioner, controller
- Hempfield community group wins park auction
- Mt. Pleasant Borough pursues permit parking
- Westmoreland man charged with firing gun, narrowly missing child
- Unity man collects bits of Westmoreland County history
- Robber holds up Family Dollar in Greensburg