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A fighter for justice

Yesterday was an incredibly difficult day for me and others who worked with and knew Pete Shellem, the Patriot-News investigative reporter who sought justice and never stopped.

His reports freed people from prison and kept a leading Republican from the governor's office, in the year that Tom Ridge was elected.

It was remarkable journalism for two decades, and it was silenced by Shellem's death at 49 over the weekend.

I worked with Shellem at the Patriot-News for 18 years and will never forget when Patty Carbone and Steven Crawford, freed from prison because of Shellem's reports, came into the newsroom and thanked everyone for helping them.

Shellem believed their stories, and he wouldn't stop until justice was served.

Shellem and Peter Shelly worked on the stories about Ernie Preate, attorney general and leading GOP candidate for governor. Their reports were ignored by other papers in Pennsylvania and they were slammed by Preate in Capitol press conferences.

But Shellem and Shelly continued the work, and Preate went to jail for a year for campaign-related mail fraud.

Shellem gained sources over the years and gained admirers in our newsroom and in others. He relentlessly pursued justice, and that's what we can remember him for today.