Governor Corbett Signs Execution Warrants

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Yesterday Governor Tom Corbett signed execution warrants for three men: one convicted of murder for the shooting death of a Philadelphia County police officer; one convicted for murdering a Fayette County couple and their daughter; and, one convicted for killing his girlfriend in Lawrence County.

Christopher Roney was convicted in Philadelphia County Court of first-degree murder for the shooting death of Philadelphia Police Officer Lauretha Vaird on January 2, 1996.

Mark Duane Edwards was convicted in Fayette County Court of three counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of Larry Bobish Sr., his wife Joanna Bobish, and their 17-year-old pregnant daughter Krystal Bobish on April 14, 2002.

Dennis C. Reed was convicted in Lawrence County Court of first-degree murder for the shooting death of Wendy Miller, his girlfriend and mother of his son, on December 16, 2001.

All three men are incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Greene. Roney’s execution has been scheduled for January 8, 2015; Edwards’ execution has been scheduled for January 13, 2015; Reed’s execution has been scheduled for January 15, 2015.

The execution warrants signed today for Roney, Edwards and Reed were Governor Corbett’s 41st, 42nd, and 43rd warrants signed, respectively, since taking office.

Executions in Pennsylvania are carried out by lethal injection. For more information, visit the Department of Corrections online at www.cor.state.pa.us and select “Administration,” “General Information,” then “Death Penalty.”

Case Backgrounds:

Roney, now 44, was found guilty of first-degree murder, among other charges, by a jury on October 30, 1996, and the jury returned a death verdict on November 1, 1996 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.

On January 2, 1996, at approximately 8:20 a.m., Roney along with two others, Ernest Canty and Warren McGlone, attempted to rob a PNC Bank at 4710 Rising Sun Avenue in Philadelphia. As the assistant manager arrived for work, Canty grabbed her and the bank manager and forced them into the bank at gunpoint. Moments later, Roney grabbed the head teller of the bank as she arrived.

Police were notified of the robbery attempt by a nearby business and Officer Lauretha Vaird, a nine-year veteran with the police department, was the first officer to arrive on scene. As she entered the bank in uniform, Roney fired a fatal shot into her abdomen. As additional officers arrived, the men fled the scene.

Based upon eyewitness statements and identifications, Roney was arrested and charged with the murder of Officer Vaird. His accomplices were arrested and subsequently confessed to their participation in the robbery.

Edwards, now 32, was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder by a jury on May 7, 2004, and the jury returned a death verdict on May 17, 2004 in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas.

On April 12, 2002, Edwards robbed Larry Bobish Sr. during a drug sale at Bobish’s residence. Two days later, Edwards returned to the Bobish residence. Mr. Bobish let him inside and at some point while the men talked, Edwards pulled out a black automatic handgun and shot Mr. Bobish in the chest. Edwards then ran into the living room and shot Mr. Bobish’s son, Larry Bobish Jr., in the neck.

Edwards then went into the bedroom and shot Mr. Bobish’s wife Joanna once in the neck, killing her. The shots woke up their 17-year-old pregnant daughter Krystal, who confronted Edwards and asked him to stop shooting. Edwards then shot Krystal twice and she fell to the floor, where he proceeded to kick her in the stomach. Larry Jr. attempted to stop Edwards, but Edwards slapped him and cut him on the neck. Edwards then went upstairs and set fire to the bedroom and fled the scene. Larry Jr. was able to crawl outside to the driveway and call for help.

On April 18, 2002, Larry Bobish Jr. identified Edwards as the man who shot him and killed his family. Later that day, Edwards confessed to the shootings, although at trial two years later, he testified on his own behalf that he had no involvement in the shootings. Autopsies revealed that all three victims died before the fire began and Krystal Bobish’s unborn male fetus died due to lack of oxygen resulting from his mother’s death.

Reed, now 43, was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury on January 31, 2008, and the jury returned a death verdict on February 1, 2008 in the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas.

In 2001, Reed moved into a New Castle apartment with his girlfriend, Wendy Miller, their 12-year-old son, and her three other children. After Ms. Miller applied for a Protection From Abuse Order against Reed, he showed up at the residence in the early morning of December 16, 2001. When he was let in by one of the children, Reed went upstairs to Ms. Miller’s bedroom and forcibly removed her from the house, returning ten minutes later to gather her three children (their son was with another family member).

They drove to a local housing project in Ms. Miller’s SUV, where Ms. Miller and Reed exited the vehicle, leaving her three children inside. Reed returned alone twenty minutes later; when asked by Ms. Miller’s eldest child where her mother was, Reed replied that their aunt had taken their mother to work.

Ms. Miller’s family notified New Castle police that she and her children were missing. A search commenced, and Butler City police found Reed outside Ms. Miller’s SUV on December 22, where they arrested him. The children were located inside the vehicle and sent with family members. Police seized a loaded shotgun, along with Reed’s clothing which had stains that were later tested and found to have genetic markers consistent with Ms. Miller’s blood.

Family members continued the search for Wendy Miller and ultimately found her body on December 23, 2001, in a desolate and secluded area of the woods. Ms. Miller had been shot at close range in the head with a shotgun.


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