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Corbett signs death warrant for man who murdered Upper St. Clair woman

Gov. Tom Corbett on Monday signed the execution warrant for a Washington County man who killed an Upper St. Clair grandmother more than a decade ago.

An Allegheny County jury convicted Patrick Jason Stollar, now 36, of first-degree murder for beating and stabbing Jean Heck, 78, during a robbery in her home on June 4, 2003. Stollar is scheduled to die by lethal injection in the state prison in Greene County on Aug. 20.

Prosecutors said Stollar drove to Heck’s home, lured her outside and threw her on the ground, where he kicked her and stomped on her head. After rummaging through her house, Stollar stabbed Heck eight times.

Stollar, who represented himself in the guilt phase of his trial, claimed he was mentally ill at the time of the killing. Downtown lawyer James Depasquale, who represented Stollar during the penalty phase of his trial, could not be reached.

Although Corbett and former Gov. Ed Rendell signed a combined total of more than 150 death warrants during their terms, the state has not executed an inmate since 1999, when Gary Heidnik of Philadelphia was put to death for kidnapping and torturing six women, two of whom he killed.

State law requires the governor to sign execution warrants after certain stages of the appeals process. More than 200 people sit on Pennsylvania’s death row, the fourth most of any state in the country.

Pennsylvania reinstated the death penalty in 1976 and executed three prisoners between then and 1999. Each of them waived their appeals and asked that their executions be carried out. Allegheny County’s most recent death sentence was for convicted cop killer Richard Poplawski, found guilty of the April 4, 2009, slayings of three Pittsburgh police officers who responded to a call at his Stanton Heights home.

Corbett on Monday also signed the execution warrant for Glenn Lyons, 49, who fatally stabbed Kathy Leibig in May 2008 in Berks County. His execution is scheduled for Aug. 21.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or [email protected].


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