Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - December 4, 2001, Altoona, Pennsylvania
NATION: AIR FORCE NAILS GAZA, JENIN AS SHARON DECLARES WAR ON TERROR ► PAGE Cl
IP* •I Steelers concerned about play ’ Ste ▼^despite AFC’s best record
© Copyright 2001
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2001
Wright attorneys request private investigation of jurors
By Phil Ray
The attorneys for convicted killer William L. Wright of Altoona have asked that a private investigator be appointed to interview the jurors who convicted him of first-degree murder and sentenced him to death.
Altoona attorneys Brian H Grabil and R. Thomas Forr Jr. said they need to interview the jurors as part of their efforts to overturn the verdicts returned more than a year ago.
A Lebanon County jury’ heard the case because of the media attention it received in Blair County.
Grabil and Forr were not the trial attor neys for Wright but were appointed after his conviction and sentence.
Neither Blair District Attorney Dave Gorman nor assistant district attorney Richard Consiglio, who prosecuted the 38-year-old Wright for the 1998 Thanksgiving Day murder of James Mowery, 34, were
available for comment Monday about the latest move by the defense.
Wright was charged three years ago with entering the Mowery home at 2807 Beale Ave. after an early morning spat with James Mowery and his wife. Tammy, who was carrying Wright’s child.
One task is to examine the defense presented by Wright’s three trial lawyers and raise the question of “ineffectiveness of counsel” if problems are found.
Grabil said Monday that the defense team does not know yet what questions the jurors will be asked.
Please see Jurors/Page AIQ
ALTOONA AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT
DANA GATES MURDER
Mirror illustration by Tom Worthington ll
Program provides extra opportunities
By Jay Young Staff Writer
Conner Schilling, 6, says he doesn’t like to read or write, but you wouldn’t know it by watching him hang out at school with a professional author.
“Did you go to all of these countries to see those animals?” the young Schilling eagerly asked author Jerry Pallotta.
The upbeat Pallotta stopped in midstride
to tell the boy, “No, I read about them.” Pallotta lives in Massachusetts and visits schools across the country. He is the author of numerous nationally known children’s books.
Schilling probably won’t remember the specific conversation down the road, but he and the other Logan students probably will recall the day the author visited their school.
“Where else would they get to meet an author,” fourth-grade Logan Elementary
teacher Sue Holzer said. "Thank goodness for the foundation.”
That foundation is operated by the Altoona Area School District. None of the students would have met Pallotta without the financial assistance of the foundation. The author’s visit was funded with a $1,500 Educator in Residence grant from the foundation.
Please see Foundation/Page A4
FREE INSIDE. REALLY
Shooting victim remains in intensive care at Altoona
By Mark Leberfinger and Phil Ray Staff Writers
An 18-year-old Logan Township woman remains in intensive care at Altoona Hospital after being shot in the head Sunday night while standing on the sidewalk in front of Polir Global Recycling on Fifth Avenue near Third Street.
The woman dropped to the pavement but remained conscious, said Harry W. Colpetzer of 229 Fifth Ave., who, upon hearing at least three shots, went to the stricken woman.
He held her hand.
“She said she didn’t want to die. She was hysterical,” Colpetzer said.
Colpetzer’s wife, Pam, said she heard at least two shots.
“It was the first time I ever heard gunshots before. You could tell it was a gunshot,” she said.
Pam Colpetzer said the stricken woman kept holding onto her husband’s hand, asking if she was going to die.
“He came back with blood all over him. It’s a little scary,” she said.
Please see Shooting/Page AIQ
Gag orders not issued
By Mark Leberfinger
and Jay Young Staff Writers
BEDFORD - A state police sergeant says there is no gag order to tighten the flow of information on the Dana Gates murder case in Bedford County, despite witnesses’ claims they have been ordered to remain silent.
Several potential witnesses have told the Mirror that they are not permitted to discuss the incident, citing what thev called a stat** police “gag order.”
“There’s a possibility that people who have certain sensitive information are asked not to repeat it,” Sgt. Daniel Krauss of the Bedford station said Monday. “Only a judge can issue a gag order. We can’t do
that. That hasn’t happened.”
Krauss said police won’t issue any additional information about the homicide investigation at this time. Additional information could be-used by the suspect, he said.
“There’s a suspect at large, and if we release information to the public about the case, the information is being released to someone else,” he said.
Meanwhile, state police at Bedford said they will discuss the case today at a news conference.
Hollidaysburg attorney David Axinn, who represents the American Civil Liberties Union in some cases, said he has no problem with police “requesting” witnesses to keep information to themselves.
Please see Gag order/Page A5
No motive known by friends, family
By William Kibler
Friends and relatives of the Queen couple brutalized at their home last week seem unanimous in seeing no motive for the woman’s murder and her fiance’s beating.
Dana Gates, 31, was a fiery redhead who may have irritated a few people occasionally, but no one threatened her, and she was fine when she came home with a cousin after an evening of darts and karaoke, her aunt and neighbor Dianna Walter said.
Lorin Burket, 31, was a happy person — like Dana — who didn’t
get angry often, didn’t start fights as a kid and hasn’t been involved in a fight for years, said Beverly Weyandt, who’s related to Burket by marriage.
They’d been a couple for about eight years, with a few breakups and reunifications, but never any violence, Walter said.
Gates was an administrative assistant at Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries in Bedford. She was an excellent employee and a good friend to her colleagues, said Debbie Mock, director of children’s services there.
Please see Motive/Page AS
Dana Gates was killed in her
N lmler/ /
f rn) /
home just south of the Bedford , County village of Queen.
Mirror graphic by Tom Worthington ll
Subscription or home delivery questions: 946-7480 or (800) 287-4480
7 22910 00050 4
91 2 I 9
■ Lottery numbers, A2
Partly cloudy, 58°
■ Forecast, A2 I
□ un* %
Community news D2 Puzzles D4
Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules a longstanding manufacturers’ tax exemption is unconstitutional
The December edition of the Seniors Mirror is included free inside today’s edition.
Printing schedule complications necessitated moving it from its usual Monday insertion date, but that didn’t stop us from mistakenly promoting the Seniors section as being inside Monday's paper. We apologize for the error.