Farmhand Sentenced to Death for Murder, Rape

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty and conviction of a farmhand in the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl on a southwestern Pennsylvania horse farm in 2006.

Fifty-seven-year-old Jeffrey Martin, of New Geneva, had argued there wasn't sufficient evidence to support his conviction on first-degree murder and other crimes for killing Gabrielle Bechen on June 13, 2006. The same Greene County jury took about an hour to decide Martin deserved to be executed.

Police say Martin confessed, but he took the stand at trial to recant and blamed the killing on another man. He has also argued that there wasn't enough evidence to prove the killing occurred as part of the sexual assault, which was one of the aggravating circumstances prosecutors cited in seeking the death penalty.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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