"A federal judge has ordered Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to write apology letters to the families of the victims of a double murder after concluding that supervisors in his office made misleading statements to the court.
U.S. District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania scolded prosecutors for being “vague” and “unclear” about whether they consulted with victims’ families before supporting efforts to overturn the death penalty in the case against Robert Wharton. In reality, prosecutors communicated with just one person—the family member who survived the attack, Lisa Hart-Newman.
The district attorney’s office had written in a court notice that it decided to concede an ineffective counsel claim following a review by its capital case review committee and “communication with the victims’ family,” wrote Goldberg in a Sept. 12 opinion.
Wharton was convicted for killing Bradley and Ferne Hart in 1984 in retaliation for failure to pay for construction work. Working with an accomplice, he then shut off the heat to the couple’s home, leaving their 7-month-old daughter, Lisa, “to fend for herself,” according to a 2018 opinion by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Philadelphia. A relative found the baby still alive three days later.”
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