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2 men appeal for shorter sentences in 2001 Armstrong County slaying

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Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Two men serving life sentences for killing a drug dealer more than a decade ago filed court documents on Monday seeking shorter prison terms because they were 17 years old when they were arrested.

Bryan Chambers, 29, and James A. Provitt, 30, were convicted of first-degree murder and other offenses for the June 14, 2001, shooting and beating death of 48-year-old Larry Dunmire of Kiskiminetas Township, Armstrong County.

Dunmire was shot 14 times and struck with a blunt object as many as 30 times. His body was found facedown along Moore Road in Bell Township near his burned van, police said.

Chambers and Provitt were sentenced to a mandatory term of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Recent appellate court decisions have determined that mandatory life sentences issued to juveniles are unconstitutional. Chambers and Provitt last year filed appeals based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

On Monday, amended appeals were filed in Westmoreland County to assert that they are entitled to shorter sentences under the U.S. Constitution's due process and equal rights provisions.

Both men want to be sentenced to lesser charges for which they were convicted. In addition to first-degree murder, a jury found Chambers and Provitt guilty of third-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

District Attorney John Peck said the appeal is without merit and noted that, even with new sentencing hearings, both still could be sentenced to life imprisonment under present state law.

“This is a claim that no court has recognized,” Peck said on Monday.

Peck previously conceded that a Greensburg teenager convicted of first-degree murder and serving life in prison will need to be resentenced.

Angela Marinucci, now 21, was 17 when she was arrested for the February 2010 torture slaying of Jennifer Daugherty, 30, of Mt. Pleasant, a mentally challenged woman who was held captive in a Greensburg apartment by six roommates before she was fatally stabbed.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that hearings must be held for juveniles in such cases instead of mandatory sentences being automatically imposed.

A resentencing hearing for Marinucci is expected to be scheduled when an appeal of her conviction is resolved.

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

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