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Tell Us: Death or Life in Prison for Hitcho?

Should George Hitcho be sentenced to death or life in prison for his first-degree murder conviction?

A Northampton County jury in the first degree Thursday in the Robert Lasso.

The case now enters the penalty phase in which Hitcho will be sentenced to either death or life in prison.

Tell us what you think by voting in our poll and adding your comments below.

Three people have been executed since Pennsylvania reinstituted capital punishment in 1978. There were two executions in 1995 and one in 1999. In those cases, the convicts ended appeals and asked for death, according to a Philly.com report.

Hitcho shot Lasso as the officer responded to a complaint called in by a neighbor on Aug. 11. Lasso was fighting off a pair of snarling dogs with his back to the rear door of the home when Hitcho opened fire and killed him.

The jury dismissed defense arguments that Hitcho's mental ability was impaired by a series of head injuries and that he was afraid and angry and did not shoot Lasso with any malicious intent.

jet godfrey May 18, 2012 at 09:43 AM
DEATH. Taxpayers should NOT have to house, feed & clothe this miserable, murdering scumbag.
Joshua May 18, 2012 at 12:19 PM
FYI It costs the taxpayers more to execute a person then to sentence them to life in prison.
Susan Koomar May 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Interesting point, Joshua. There are more than 200 convicts in Pa. awaiting execution. "The Death Penalty Information Center in Washington estimates a death sentence costs up to three times as much as imprisoning an inmate for life at high security," according to a Philadelphia Inquirer report. In our state, any death sentence is automatically appealed to the state Supreme Court. Then there is a secondary state appeal, known as a PCRA (Post-Conviction Relief Act), which may challenge the effectiveness of the defense lawyer and the quality of the defense case. Then there can be a final federal appeal.
Beth Ann May 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Actually it costs more about 20 thousand a year more to house a prisoner on death row.
Tom Coombe (Editor) May 18, 2012 at 12:38 PM
And keep in mind that Pennsylvania hasn't executed anyone in about 13 years. Before that, it was 1962.
Sunday May 18, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I didn't vote in the poll because I honestly don't know enough about the case. But in all honesty, I have always believed in the death penalty. Our prisons are too overcrowded so as it is with hardened cold-blooded killers who, in my opinion, do not deserve to live. I wonder, though, how I would really feel if I was on the jury and had to make the decision as to whether or not someone lives or dies. In my mind I would think it would be an easy decision, but when you're actually faced with that responsibility it is not always the case. In this case, I can only think of that poor police officer who went to work every single day and put himself in harms way for the citizens. I think about his family and how they must feel not having him there anymore. I guess I would have to say that if Hitcho killed officer Lasso in cold blood then YES, he deserves the death penalty! Why should Hitcho get to live out the rest of his life (even in prison) after destroying another man's life and that of his family? Especially a man (officer Lasso) who chose a career in law enforcement and took a vow to protect us even if that meant he had to put his own life on the line.
Wendy Ross May 18, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Death is too good for him, but he is not going to be rehabilitated and he is not worth the waste of oxygen. Too bad an execution taes so long.
Eric Harding May 18, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I don't understand how this could be. Do the drugs that they use cost millions of dollars?? I would love to see the ACTUAL facts and figures on this instead of relying on the media to cloud my mind. I just can't see how executing a death warrant would cost more than housing, clothing and feeding an inmate for 20+ years. And what are we doing with 200 death row inmates? They are on death row for a reason, why are we prolonging the inevitable??
Tom Coombe (Editor) May 18, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Eric: Here's a study from 2008 that outlines the costs of having prisoners on death row. http://www.urban.org/publications/411625.html
Lower Saucon Brother May 18, 2012 at 11:53 PM
joshua, that's BS. what costs is the endless appeals. Fry the bastard
BethTwp May 19, 2012 at 02:42 AM
There really is no difference between life in prison and the death penalty. There are many sitting on death row for over 30 years. We are footing the bills.
marc swann June 01, 2012 at 10:52 PM
moron. the death penalty is the most expensive punishment there is. research something before you post. what a barbaric society, killing a man for killing.
marc swann June 01, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Harding, your mind is already clouded. Its a fact. Research it, don't say you wish you knew.
marc swann June 01, 2012 at 10:56 PM
wendy, life has been too easy for you. you're a hateful woman and may god have more mercy on you than you do your fellow man. you are filled with hatred.
marc swann June 01, 2012 at 10:59 PM
WHO DO YOU PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE? WHO MORGANELLI AND JUDGE BELTRAMI AND JURY DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? HOW DARE YOU SENTENCE A MAN TO DEATH. HOW DARE YOU GIVE YOURSELF THE RIGHT THAT ONLY BELONGS TO GOD. HOW DARE YOU KILL A MAN AS PUNISHMENT FOR KILLING A MAN. MAY YOU ALL HAVE YOUR EYES OPENED ONE DAY TO THE EVIL YOU PERPETUATE.

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