Sandusky's wife says she believes he's innocent
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - The wife of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky says she "definitely" believes her husband is innocent despite his conviction of the sexual abuse of 10 boys.
Dottie Sandusky said in an interview broadcast Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show that "there was nothing that went on because I was here" in the couple's small State College home.
She denied being a "weak spouse" and said she believes her husband's accusers had been manipulated "once the lawyers came into the case."
She said in the interview recorded Monday that she believed that her husband showered with children but "that's the generation that Jerry grew up in."
Jerry Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence. He insists he is innocent and has appealed to the state Supreme Court.
Curtain call: Final wintry blast due to hit Pa.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A frigid, snowy winter is set to make a curtain call - at least in western Pennsylvania - where rain is forecast to turn to snow as winds drive wind chills below zero when cold artic air collides with moisture arriving from the southwest.
The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh has issued a winter weather advisory for the western third of the state, where 2 to 4 inches of snow could fall Wednesday night into Thursday. Mostly rain is predicted from central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg and east toward Philadelphia.
The northwestern corner of the state, including Erie and Bradford, could receive 6 to 10 inches of snow.
Temperatures, which were in the 40s early Wednesday, were set to drop into the teens by Wednesday night, with gusty winds driving wind chills to minus-10 degrees or more early Thursday.
PITTSBURGH POLICE CHIEF
Sentence for ex-Pittsburgh police chief stands
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A federal judge has denied a bid to reduce the sentence of a former western Pennsylvania police chief convicted of conspiring to create an unauthorized slush fund.
Former Pittsburgh police chief Nathan Harper was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay almost $32,000 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit theft from a federal funded program and failure to file tax returns.
Defense attorney Milton Raiford argued Tuesday that his 61-year-old client should have entered into a plea agreement and asked the judge to consider his repentance.
But U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon said the sentence was on the low end of federal guidelines for the crime. She said the lack of a plea agreement wasn't an issue for the court to consider.
Pa. man guilty of murder in 4-year-old's death
UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A southwestern Pennsylvania man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the beating death of his girlfriend's 4-year-old son in 2011.
A Fayette County jury deliberated about 90 minutes Tuesday before convicting 29-year-old Patrick Haney Jr., of Point Marion. The same jury was to return to court Wednesday to hear additional evidence and arguments before deciding whether Haney deserves life in prison or the death penalty for killing Trenton St. Clair.
The boy died in September 2011.
The boy's mother, 30-year-old Heather Forsythe, pleaded guilty last week to endangering the boy and agreed to testify against Haney in exchange for 2½ to 5 years in prison.
She testified bruising on her son increased the last week of his life, as she came home to find Haney beating the boy.
SHOOTING NEAR SCHOOL
Man gets 10-20 years for shooting aide near school
ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A military veteran claiming to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder has been sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison for shooting his ex-girlfriend outside a northwestern Pennsylvania school where she worked as a teacher's aide.
The Erie Times-News reports 47-year-old Derrick Rowry, of Erie, was sentenced by an Erie County judge on Tuesday. He was previously convicted of attempted homicide and a weapons violation for shooting 44-year-old Tamara Logan in the head several times on May 10.
Logan survived the shooting outside McKinley Elementary School in Erie. On Tuesday, she accepted Rowry's apology and told the judge she just wants Rowry "to get some help." The couple had argued about breaking up earlier the day of the shooting.
Defense attorney Gene Placidi says Rowry suffers from PTSD from his service in Operation Desert Storm.
W. Pa. Democratic Rep. Gary Haluska retiring
PATTON, Pa. (AP) - State Rep. Gary Haluska is retiring and will avoid running against another incumbent in western Pennsylvania's redrawn 72nd House District.
The 63-year-old Democrat from Patton, a tiny borough in Cambria County, announced Tuesday that he was retiring from the seat he's held for nearly 20 years.
Because of redistricting, Haluska would have faced 73rd District incumbent state Rep. Frank Burns in the Democratic primary.
Burns now faces only Martin Westrick, a business owner and political novice. Burns was elected to the state House in 2008.
Philip Rice, of Ebensburg, and Randy Wilson, of Reade Township, are running for the Republican nomination.
The redrawn district includes nearly all of Cambria County, except for a few northern townships and boroughs bordering Clearfield County.
SMALL PLANE CRASH
Pilot killed in small plane crash at Pa. airport
WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) - Authorities say a former Ukrainian champion figure skater was killed in the crash of a small plane at a southwestern Pennsylvania airport.
Officials said 52-year-old Igor Novodran of Upper St. Clair was practicing touch-and-go landings when the plane crashed near the runway at Washington County Airport shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The Allegheny County medical examiner's office said Novodran was flown to UPMC-Presbyterian hospital, where he died about an hour and a half later.
Fire crews said the front of the 1998 Avid Bandit aircraft was destroyed and the cockpit badly damaged.
Novodran, a Ukrainian National Champion skater in his youth, had in recent years coached skaters in international competitions.
Kim Sailer, who coached with him at the Island Sports Center, said he had been flying for about five years.
SCHOOL DISTRICT REJECTS DRILLING
W. Pa. school district rejects $1M drilling deal
MARS, Pa. (AP) - A western Pennsylvania school board has unanimously rejected an energy firm's $1 million, five-year offer to drill for natural gas under school district property from a well pad nearly a mile away from school property.
Officials with Rex Energy say they're still seeking state environmental approvals to open the well pad in hopes of tapping gas under other nearby properties.
The Mars Area School Board, about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh, rejected the deal at its meeting Tuesday night. Officials and concerned citizens cited environmental and safety concerns - notably a gas well explosion in Greene County last month that killed a worker. Mars is in Butler County.
Horizontal drilling enables companies like Rex to access gas beneath property from off-site wells.
Rex plans to construct the well pad about 4,000 feet from school district property.
PARISH PRIEST-THEFT CHARGES
DA: W. Pa. priest stole $124,000 from ex-parish
YUKON, Pa. (AP) - District attorney's detectives say a western Pennsylvania priest stole $124,000 from the parish he headed.
The Rev. Emil Payer surrendered Tuesday and immediately waived his right to a hearing on theft charges filed by Westmoreland County detectives. His defense attorney declined comment on the charges.
Payer is charged with stealing the money while he pastored Church of the Seven Dolors in Yukon, a tiny village in South Huntingdon Township.
Greensburg Bishop Lawrence Brandt has placed the priest on administrative leave.
The investigation shows payer stole the money from October 2008 through August 2011, while he simultaneously drew a $2,600 monthly salary.
He allegedly spent the money to pay off his credit cards, for frequent overseas travel, and to fund a private tour business he operated, which helped him take the trips.
Pogo championships part of Pittsburgh regatta
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pogopalooza 2014 - an event to crown world champions in various "extreme" pogo stick events - is coming to Pittsburgh as part of the EQT Three Rivers Regatta, which climaxes July 4.
The event, also known as the Extreme Pogo World Championship Series, will feature 30 to 50 of the world's top pogo stick jumpers from July 2-4.
The jumpers, some of whom bounce nearly 10 feet in the air while also performing flips and other tricks, will be competing for championships for the best trick, highest bounce and various endurance events.
The event is coming to Pittsburgh, in part, because the chief executive officer of Xpogo LLC, the extreme pogo organization that runs the events, has Pittsburgh roots. Nick Ryan, a York native co-founded the organization, graduated from the city's Carnegie Mellon University in 2011.
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