Court denies new trial for man convicted of 2014 murder of East Liberty sisters |
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Tom Davidson

A state appeals court has denied a Pittsburgh man’s request for a new trial in the 2014 killing of two sisters who lived next door to him in East Liberty.

Allen Wade, 48, is serving consecutive life sentences, one for each victim, plus three consecutive terms of 10 to 20 years for two counts of robbery and one count of burglary for the Feb. 7, 2014, killing of sisters Sarah and Susan Wolfe in their Chislett Street home.

Superior Court judges found that allowing a jury access to a PowerPoint presentation highlighting DNA evidence didn’t violate procedural rules governing juries in the state. Allowing a knit hat to be admitted as evidence also wasn’t improper, nor was testimony during the trial that mentioned a lie detector test as it was remedied by the trial judge, the court ruled.

The court released its opinion Nov. 27.

Wade was spared the death penalty after a lengthy trial in May 2016.

Public defenders appointed to defend Wade filed the appeal.

Prosecutors argued the issues raised in Wade’s appeal wouldn’t have affected the trial because of other overwhelming evidence against him.

Susan Wolfe, 44, was a teacher’s aide at the Hillel Academy in Squirrel Hill. Sarah Wolfe, 38, was a psychiatrist at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital in Oakland. They were both shot in the head and found in the basement of their home, doused with bleach and laundry detergent in a crime that rattled the neighborhood.

Police ultimately charged Wade, who was their next-door neighbor, with their killings. Authorities used DNA to tie Wade to the crimes and also had surveillance footage of Wade using or attempting to use their bank cards to make ATM withdrawals.

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