proposed laws

PA Bill Number: HB440

Title: In criminal history record information, further providing for expungement, for petition for limited access, for clean slate limited access and for ...

Description: In criminal history record information, further providing for expungement, for petition for limited access, for clean slate limited access and f ...

Last Action: Presented to the Governor

Last Action Date: Oct 22, 2020

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President Trump Visits Martinsburg! - 10/26/2020
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Pennsylvania Self-Defense: Allentown pizza shop shooting latest in recent self-defense killings in the Lehigh Valley :: 01/24/2020

The first two homicides in Allentown happened within days of each other this week, and authorities now believe both killings may have been the result of victims protecting themselves, fighting back and using deadly force.

On Thursday, Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin ruled that a killing of a man who broke into an Allentown home and attacked a boy over the weekend was a justified use of self-defense. Hours later, a man opened fire on a masked and armed robber of an east Allentown pizza shop, and Martin said that shooting was also an act of self-defense.

Over the years, Martin has made the same ruling in a number of homicides.

On Thursday night, a masked man attempted to rob a pizza shop in the 1400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue in east Allentown when the owner of a neighboring business who had also been robbed shot and killed 27-year-old Darrell Mussa Jr., Martin said.

Four days earlier, on Sunday evening, Luis Nieves, 48, was breaking into a home at 729 N.11th St. in Allentown and attacked a juvenile inside with a metal cane during what authorities described as an attempted home-invasion robbery. The two fought and during the struggle, the juvenile stabbed Nieves, who died a short time later, police said. His death was investigated and determined to have been an act of self-defense.

Here are some other recent incidents in the Lehigh Valley:

Last year on Feb. 16, Shane Gesnaker was killed after he and another man attempted to rob an Allentown man, who turned his registered and permitted handgun on them. The district attorney ruled the shooter acted in self-defense.

Two of Gesnaker’s accomplices, one of them his girlfriend, were arrested and sent to prison for their role in the robbery attempt. During their sentencing last fall, a judge told them, “Sometimes when you play with fire, you get burned.”

An investigation later determined that McKenzie was being attacked by Acey and another man when he fired on them in self-defense. McKenzie still faced a weapons violation and was sentenced to eight to 23 months in jail because his license to carry a concealed firearm was revoked at the time.

Manuel Gamiz Jr. is a crime and breaking news reporter for Lehigh County and surrounding areas. He previously worked at newspapers in Texas and California, including the Los Angeles Times. He has written stories on a number of beats, including prep sports, education, cities and suburbs. He has also written previews and reviews of rock concerts.