Corbett signs execution warrant for Washington man

Patrick Jason Stollar received a death sentence in March 2008 for the murder of an Upper St. Clair woman

June 30, 2014
Patrick Jason Stollar

A Washington man convicted of killing a 78-year-old Upper St. Clair woman in 2003 is scheduled to die Aug. 20.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed a death warrant Monday for Patrick Jason Stollar.

Stollar received a death sentence in March 2008 in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas for the June 4, 2003 beating and stabbing death of Jean Heck during a robbery at her home.

Corbett also signed an execution warrant for Glenn Lyons, who was convicted in Berks County Court of first-degree murder for the stabbing death of Kathy Leibig in May 2008.

Stollar and Lyons are inmates at SCI-Greene.

Stollar, now 36, was an occasional worker for a landscaping company that worked at Heck’s home days before her murder. He returned to Heck’s home on Berkshire Drive and attacked her after she told him she didn’t need him to do any more landscaping work.

She was found dead by three neighbors who heard her scream for help.

Allegheny County Coroner Cyril Wecht ruled Heck died from strangulation and stab wounds to the head and chest.

One of the neighbors gave police a flyer for the landscaping company that had done work on Heck’s property, and another neighbor identified a man matching Stollar’s description get into a brown SUV and drive off. Within hours, police tracked Stollar to an apartment on Jefferson Avenue where he was staying and he confessed to killing Heck.

On June 6, 2003, Stollar led police to a wooded area behind a cemetery where he buried a knife, blood-spattered clothing, blood covered tissues, along with Heck’s checkbook, wallet and credit cards.

Allegheny County police said the murder was premeditated and robbery was the motive.

Hours after he murdered Heck, Stollar tried to cash forged checks taken from her home.

Stollar, an ex-Marine, served as his own attorney during the trial. He admitted to the crime in his closing statement to the jury, and made references to the Ten Commandments, the Crusades, the Civil War and Helen of Troy.

Lyons, 49, was sentenced to death in 2011 in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas. Leibig’s husband returned home from work May 1 to find her missing. Her body was found a few days later inside her vehicle in a parking lot. She was stabbed 30 times in the face, chin, neck, shoulder and chest.

Lyons was arrested May 8, and denied involvement in her murder. He told police he and Leibig were victims of a robbery and he was knocked out and later found Leibig in her car.

However, the knives found at the crime scene were the same type found in Lyons’ apartment, and Lyons hinted several times during a drug binge that he had hurt Leibig. A blood spatter expert and other experts contradicted Lyons’ story. Also, while buying cocaine one night, a nearby surveillance camera captured Lyons throwing a bag that contained Leibig’s belongings, along with a gray, blood-stained sweatshirt, into a dumpster.

Corbett has now signed 34 death warrants.

Karen Mansfield is an award-winning journalist and mom of five who has been a staff writer for the Observer-Reporter since 1988. She enjoys reading, the Pittsburgh Steelers, a good glass of wine and nice people.

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