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February 1, 2008

Reed sentenced to death

Dennis Reed has been sentenced to death for killing former girlfriend Wendy Miller in 2001.

Reed, 36, was found guilty on Thursday of first-degree murder for shooting Miller, 28, in the back of the head with a shotgun on Dec. 16, 2001. Miller’s body was found near Neshannock Creek on Dec. 22, 2001.

The jury also found Reed guilty of simple assault of Miller, unlawfully possessing, using or controlling a firearm and one count each of kidnapping, unlawful restraint and interfering with custody of each of Miller’s three children who were then 8, 6 and 5 years old.

The same jury yesterday considered the penalty phase of the trial. Prior to deliberating, they heard Lawrence County District Attorney John Bongivengo argue for the death penalty and heard Reed’s court-appointed defense attorney Randall Hetrick plead for mercy.

The jury also heard from Reed. Although his testimony was rambling and mostly incoherent, Reed said he loved Miller. However, he said he could not remember killing her or most of what happened in the week that followed when he drove between New Castle and Butler with Miller’s children.

Reed, who did not take the witness stand during his trial, was the only witness called for the defense yesterday in the penalty phase of the proceeding, talking for about 80 minutes.

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