Pennsylvania

Judge: First-Degree Murder in Lover's Claw Hammer Slaying

A judge says a western Pennsylvania woman who shot her female lover twice in the head before smashing her face with a claw hammer is guilty of first-degree murder.

Somerset County Judge D. Gregory Geary immediately imposed a life prison sentence after Friday's verdict against 28-year-old Erin Everett, of Jerome.

The defense argued the March 2011 killing of 21-year-old Tory Minnick, who was sleeping when attacked, was a crime of passion.

Had Geary agreed, Everett would have faced 20 to 40 years in prison for third-degree murder.

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District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser argued says Everett was clearly guilty of first-degree, or premeditated, murder.

The DA says Everett was upset that Minnick was spending time with an ex-boyfriend and says, "You can't kill someone just because you're jealous and want them to stay."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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