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Man sentenced to two life terms for killings

AP—A Pittsburgh man has received consecutive life prison sentences for the murders of two sisters during a home invasion last year, while their three children cowered in fear upstairs. A SWAT team, state police helicopter and police dogs were used to apprehend 29-year-old Mario Parker more than two weeks after the shootings on May 1, 2009.

Police say Parker and another man shot 21-year-old Daneen Robinson and 32-year-old Rachel Robinson during the home invasion robbery. The women were shot near their front door and officers found three of the victims’ children, ages 9, 5, and 3, huddled in a bedroom. Parker was sentenced Monday. Police say a second suspect was involved, but he’s never been named, charged or apprehended.

Parking proposal

AP—Pittsburgh has received a $451 million offer to run its parking garages and meters under a proposal that would wipe out the parking authority’s debt and boost the city’s struggling pension fund. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced the high bid by investment firm J.P. Morgan and LAZ parking on Monday. The 50-year lease would put city-owned parking garages and street meters in private hands.

Ravenstahl says the offer is more than $100 million more than his office deemed necessary to meet debt obligations. The parking authority has about $100 million in debt and the pension fund needs a $200 million infusion to avoid a state takeover.

Ravenstahl says the money left over from the sale could be funneled back into the pension fund or use for capital improvements. City council will have to approve any lease plan.

Police charge man with

death of Black teen

AP—Human remains found in a barrel last month belong to a Black teen beaten with a baseball bat by a White man whose friends said hated Blacks, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Monday. The complaint was filed Sept. 10 and charged Jon Anthony Black, 32, of Yukon, with criminal homicide, for allegedly killing Rodnell Donte Burton, 17.

The attack allegedly occurred at a mobile home in Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh in late March, when Burton’s family had reported him missing. Burton’s body was dumped into the Conemaugh River, near Blair­sville.

Black surrendered to police Saturday in Danville, W.Va., and is being held pending extradition.

Several witnesses identified Black as the killer.

ugh their versions of precisely how and why he killed Burton varied in the 11-page police affidavit filed with the complaint. Black spoke briefly to police on Sept. 1, but stopped when they asked him about loading the barrel onto a pickup truck, as related by several witnesses.

State police in Indiana, Pa., say some suspects in a string of cigarette store robberies earlier this year provided information about the killing. Two of them—Robert Watkins, 32, and Deidra Endres, 22—gave statements about the killing at their trailer and figure prominently in the narrative—as does the defendant’s ex-girlfriend who told police of his “deep seeded hatred for blacks” and that Black confessed to her that he beat Burton “with a ball bat, shot him, burned him, and dumped him in the water.”

According to the affidavit, police interviewed Watkins on Aug. 31—hours before a dive team found the barrel. He told police Burton went to his trailer in March to collect money Watkins owed the victim for drugs.

Watkins said he and Burton were “real good friends and even got the same tattoos, like blood brothers” that Black inked for them—even though Watkins also told police “Black is not a big fan of black people,” the affidavit said.

Black has several tattoos consistent with white supremacist beliefs, police said, including a large skull on his upper right arm and an image of Hitler on his upper right chest.

Watkins said Black grabbed a bat and began beating Burton. Later he and Black dragged the body outside where Black doused it with fuel from the trailer’s heating oil tank and burned it in the barrel.

Endres gave police a similar statement, but said Black beat Burton because he was upset about a tattoo that Burton got. Endres told police she went to another room but heard a “sickening thud” and Watkins yelling “Enough!” at Black.

Watkins and Endres have not been charged in Burton’s death.

Indiana County Coroner Michael Baker said DNA tests are needed to positively confirm Burton’s identity, first released by authorities in the criminal complaint. Burton’s grandmother, Donna Reed Williams of Pittsburgh, told reporters last week that police told Burton’s family they believed he was the victim. No one answered her telephone when it was called Monday.

According to the police affidavit, a skull, ribs, vertebra, and brain matter were found in the barrel along with jeans that had a studded waistband. Burton’s girlfriend told police he had worn jeans like those found with the remains.

Registration deadline

Allegheny County residents interested in voting in the Nov. 2 General Election are being reminded by the Allegheny County Elections Division that the deadline for registration or to make changes to name, address or party affiliation is Oct. 4.

There are several ways to register. Voters Registration forms can be completed in person between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Office of the Registration Commission in the County Building. They can also be hand delivered to the Elections Division Office of the same building or they can be mailed in.

Once the information is received, residents will receive a Voters Identification Card. To obtain a form or get more information, visit the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s website at http://www.votespa.com.

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