Governor signs death warrant for convicted Fayette killer |
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Paul Peirce
Mark Duane Edwards, 19, of Uniontown is led into District Justice Deberah L. Kula's court on April 18, 2002, in Uniontown. Edwards faces criminal homicide charges among others in the deaths of the Bobish family.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed an execution warrant Friday for a Fayette County man convicted of the brutal 2002 murders of three members of a North Union family after an argument over drugs.

Mark Duane Edwards Jr., 32, is scheduled to be executed Jan. 13, according to Corbett’s office.

Edwards was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in 2004 for shooting and stabbing Larry A. Bobish, 50; his wife, Joanna, 42; and their pregnant 17-year-old daughter, Krystal, during a burglary and arson at the family’s home April 14, 2002.

The Bobish’s then 12-year-old son, Larry Jr., survived being shot and was able to escape the fire. A bullet remains lodged in his head.

Larry Bobish’s brother, William, who lives in Fairchance, Fayette County, said he was pleased by the news Friday but wonders if he will get to witness Edwards’ execution any time soon. He noted that former Gov. Ed Rendell signed a death warrant for Edwards in 2007 that repeatedly was stayed so Edwards could pursue federal and state appeals.

“My brother, sister-in-law and niece were never given a chance, and he deserves to pay for what he did,” Bobish said. “I intend to go to witness it … if it happens.

“He’s been fighting to get off death row for a long time,” he added. “I think about my brother and about his family all the time. It’s frustrating it takes this long.”

Bobish said his nephew now lives in Indiana County.

“Larry’s 24 now, and he’s doing well, working odd jobs, and hopes to go to college. He’s doing pretty good for what he went through,” William Bobish said.

Larry Bobish Jr. could not be reached for comment.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Edwards’ appeal. Edwards’ attorneys in the U.S. Public Defender’s Office could not be reached for comment.

Since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the last person executed in Pennsylvania was Gary Heidnik of Philadelphia in 1999 for the kidnap and torture of six women, two of whom he killed.

Edwards’ execution warrant was among three signed by Corbett. He approved death warrants for Christopher Roney, who was convicted in Philadelphia County of first-degree murder for the shooting of Philadelphia Police Officer Lauretha Vaird on Jan. 2, 1996, and Dennis C. Reed, who was convicted in Lawrence County Court of first-degree murder for the shooting of Wendy Miller, his girlfriend and mother of his son, on Dec. 16, 2001.

Roney’s execution has been scheduled for Jan. 8, and Reed’s execution has been scheduled for Jan. 15.

All three men are incarcerated in the State Correctional Institution at Greene.

Paul Peirce is a reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at [email protected] or 724-850-2860.

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