Defense wants death penalty barred in Fayette slaying
UNIONTOWN (AP) – A defense attorney is asking a judge to bar prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against a man charged in the strangulation death of a woman whose body was found in a Western Pennsylvania river.
Twenty-four-year-old Paul Bannasch of Hopwood is charged along with 24-year-old Craig Rugg of Connellsville in Fayette County in the death of 52-year-old Margaret Kriek of Connellsville.
The (Uniontown) Herald Standard says public defender Jeffrey Whiteko says prosecutors don’t have enough evidence of aggravating circumstances that would warrant the death penalty against Bannasch. He also wants his client’s statements and evidence found at his home thrown out.
Police allege that Rugg told them the pair killed Kriek in June after leaving a Connellsville bar because she changed her mind about having sex with them.