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Penn man will not get retrial for killing Hempfield man

| Friday, June 13, 2014, 9:36 p.m.

A Penn Township man serving life in prison for gunning down a Hempfield man eight years ago along railroad tracks in Manor will not receive a new trial, an appellate court has ruled.

The state Supreme Court this week said it will not consider the appeal of Jason P. Maple, 33, who was convicted of the first-degree murder of 25-year-old William Teck in 2006.

Prosecutors said Maple led a group of four men and his girlfriend, Jennifer Vinsek, to Manor after he was told Teck had attempted to rape Vinsek.

Teck and a friend, Patrick Altman, were lured out of a diner to the railroad tracks, where Maple, armed with a shotgun, followed them, prosecutors said.

Maple fired the gun, killing Teck and wounding Altman, police said.

Vinsek was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

The three other men involved in the killing pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and testified against Maple and Vinsek.

In court documents, Maple contended he received poor representation during his trial in 2008, when defense attorney Mark Lancaster attempted to convince jurors that his client acted in a fit of passion.

Lancaster sought a conviction on the less serious charge of voluntary manslaughter.

At an appeal hearing last year, Lancaster testified he pursued the wrong trial defense.

St. Vincent law professor Bruce Antkowiak, a former prosecutor, testified that evidence indicated that Maple should have contended he was guilty of third-degree murder and not guilty of premeditated murder.

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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