Death penalty to be sought in killings of stepmother, boy

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MEADVILLE, Pa. (AP) — A prosecutor says he will seek the death penalty if a man is convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of his stepmother and his 10-year-old half-brother in northwestern Pennsylvania last summer.

Jack Turner, 21, is charged with criminal homicide in Crawford County in the deaths of 49-year-old Shannon Whitman and 10-year-old Darrin Whitman, whose bodies were found Aug. 10 inside a Randolph Township home.

District Attorney Francis Schultz said in a notice filed with the court that capital punishment would be warranted because Turner is accused of more than one murder, the killings occurred during commission of a felony and because one of the victims was a child under the age of 12.

Turner also faces charges in the alleged theft of the adult victim's car and the robbery of a Millcreek Township convenience store on the day after the slayings. The trial is scheduled to begin in May.

Schultz says Turner is Shannon Whitman's stepson and the boy's brother. He was arrested several days after the shootings in Charleston, West Virginia and returned to Pennsylvania.

Defense attorney Michael Waltman declined comment on the prosecutor's decision.