TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Killer's appeal again denied for murder of two girls in Monessen

Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010
 

An appeal filed by a former Monessen man in prison for more than three decades for killing two young children was denied Friday.

Westmoreland County Judge Debra Pezze rejected an argument by John Veltre Jr., 54, who claimed that because he was convicted of first-degree murder as a 16-year-old in the late 1970s, he could not be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Veltre was convicted for the 1973 deaths of 2-year-old Sandra Dee Morgan, and her 3-month-old sister, Tina. According to court records, Veltre threw both children into a wall, stomping on the older child, after he raped their mother and left her unconscious in her Monessen home.

Veltre's appeal focused on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that precludes life prison sentences for juveniles convicted of crimes other than homicides.

Pezze rejected Veltre's argument, saying the Supreme Court ruling did not apply because Veltre was convicted of homicide.

Veltre pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and other related offenses, but in 1978, a state appeals court ordered that he be given a new trial. The appeals court ruled Veltre did not knowingly and voluntarily agree to plead guilty.

Later in 1978, a Westmoreland County jury found Veltre guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and rape and sentenced him to the same term originally imposed after the guilty plea --two concurrent life prison terms, plus an additional five to 20 years for rape.

Over the years, Veltre has repeatedly appealed his conviction and sentence, always maintaining his innocence.

Veltre asked that his sentenced be modified to make him eligible for parole.

He wrote his appeal from his prison cell at the State Correctional Institution at Frackville in Schuylkill County.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Police: Westmoreland women stole thousands to pay for dog show hobby
  2. 2 killed in East Huntingdon crash
  3. Sewickley Township man got food stamps, $206K in gas well royalties, investigators say
  4. Latrobe man who admitted role in fatal crash allowed to continue driving
  5. Sunoco wants to rebuild station in Greensburg
  6. Man snatches purse behind Westmoreland Mall
  7. Murrysville man draws on experiences in starting SAT prep academy
  8. Megan’s Law offender in Greensburg arrested when girl, 13, found hiding in shower
  9. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board suspends in-store tastings
  10. Arnold man sentenced for armed robbery
  11. Hookah bar on tap for Greensburg
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.