GANT: 1989 Area Teen Murderer Resentenced

CLEARFIELD CO, Pa. (GANT) – Another area teen murderer and juvenile sentenced to life in prison without parole has been resentenced.

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Christopher A. Weatherill, now 49, was only 17 years old when he and Daniel L. Crispell, now 50, kidnapped, robbed and murdered Ella M. Brown, 48, after abducting her from the DuBois Mall in October of 1989.

According to previous reports, Crispell, then 19 years old, and Weatherill took her to a remote location in Sandy Township where she was stabbed to death. They then fled the area in her vehicle and were later taken into custody in Arizona after Crispell was caught trying to steal a purse from another woman.

Both men claimed the other had stabbed the victim. Later it was revealed that Crispell had told a cellmate that he had killed her.

Weatherill was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted in August of 1990.

In June of 2017, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled that juveniles convicted of first-degree murder can only be given life without parole sentences in rare cases when “the juvenile offender is permanently incorrigible and thus is unable to be rehabilitated,” according to court documents.

Several older local cases were reviewed through post-conviction relief act petitions that included the new sentencing guidelines with a minimum of 25 years in prison for a first-degree murder committed by someone less than 15 years old and a minimum of 35 years for someone between the ages of 15 years old and 18 years old.

After several hearings reviewing his prison records and other information beginning in 2018, on Monday Senior Judge David E. Grine sentenced Weatherill to 50 years to life in prison for murder, 10 to 20 years consecutive for kidnapping and 10 to 20 years concurrent for robbery, according to First Assistant District Attorney Leanne Nedza.

Crispell was found guilty of first-degree murder in 1990 and was given the death penalty. He was scheduled to be executed on Oct. 19, 2011, but a stay of execution was issued in September of 2011 pending the conclusion of his appeal, according to reports.

In 2019, it was determined that his original attorney erred by not including information on his traumatic background during the penalty phase of his trial in 1990.

Crispell was resentenced to life in prison without parole by Senior Judge John B. Leete in March of 2019.

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