Clearfield County killer loses appeal for new trial

From CDT staff reportsApril 8, 2014 

A central Pennsylvania man on death row will not get a new trial for a 1995 killing spree.

Mark Spotz was convicted of the Jan. 31, 1995, murder of his brother, Dustin, after an argument turned physical. His brother inflicted two superficial wounds with a butter knife. Spotz told him he would kill him. Then Spotz walked upstairs, got a handgun, came back down and did just that, shooting Dustin twice in the chest before spitting on him and leaving the house with his girlfriend, according to the Clearfield County District Attorney’s Office.

Three more murders followed in Schuylkill, York and Cumberland counties before he was arrested in Carlisle five days later.

Spotz was convicted later that year, getting a total of 171/2 to 35 years in Clearfield County. His other three cases all netted the death penalty.

Appeals of the Clearfield County case, however, have been ongoing since January 1996, when Spotz took his case to the state Superior Court, claiming ineffective assistance of trial counsel.

The case was bounced back and forth to various courts at various points. In March 2012, the Superior Court granted Spotz relief on his claim, reversing the judgment and remanding it back to Clearfield County for a new trial.

Clearfield County District Attorney William Shaw appealed that decision. In January, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision and sent the case back to Superior Court to hear the remaining portions of the case.

On April 4, the Superior Court reaffirmed Spotz’s convictions on counts of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, carrying a firearm without a license and former convict not to own a firearm.

Shaw stated in a press release that “the District Attorney’s Office has been litigating this case for over eight years, and he is extremely pleased with the decision of the Superior Court.” He also said that the victims deserve closure, and he hopes that Spotz has exhausted all appeals.

Spotz remains incarcerated at the Greene state prison.

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