ShareThis Page

Deliberations continue in Cambria murder trial

Paul Peirce
| Monday, Dec. 8, 2003

A Cambria County jury was unable to reach a verdict Sunday in the first-degree murder trial of a New Germany man accused of killing a state trooper in a shootout last year.

Jurors deciding the fate of the defendant, Mark Leach, 46, deliberated six-and-a-half hours before being sent home at 9 p.m. by Judge Norman Krumenacker. Jurors were instructed to return at 8 a.m. today to resume deliberations.

Krumenacker dismissed the jury after jurors asked to listen to the instructions on the various degrees of murder Leach could be convicted of.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Leach.

Krumenacker said he would re-read the charge to jurors at the start of today's session.

Defense attorneys argued during the 10-day trial that Leach, who had a .20 percent blood alcohol level, was too intoxicated to form intent to kill Trooper Joseph J. Sepp, 34, a 10-year veteran of the Ebensburg barracks.

Under state law, jurors may take into consideration someone's intoxication level to lower first-degree murder to third-degree, which is punishable by 20 to 40 years in prison.

At 4:30 p.m., jurors also were bused to the Ebensburg barracks to view Leach's jeep, which was damaged by bullets in the Nov. 9, 2002, shootout with police in Ebensburg.

Sepp was shot once in the head and died the following day at Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me