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Dean Craven’s attorney hugged him before letting him walk out of a Lawrence County courtroom, headed for state prison for the rest of his life.

His sentencing Tuesday by Common Pleas Judge J. Craig Cox marks the end of a gruesome murder story.

The 29-year-old Craven left his Shenango Township home the morning of Jan. 29, 2017, and went to his mother’s house in Neshannock Township, where he frantically stabbed 57-year-old Lauri Craven more than 300 times with a sharpened screwdriver.

An autopsy report showed she had been stabbed in the head, face, neck and body.

Craven, 29, pleaded guilty on May 30 to first-degree murder by mental illness.

Judge J. Craig Cox Tuesday sentenced him to life in prison without parole at the forensic treatment center of the state Correctional Institution at Waymart in Wayne County.

According to online information from the state department of corrections, Farview State Hospital, a maximum-security forensic psychiatric hospital, was placed under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in October, 1995 and was designated as a forensic treatment center.

The center at Waymart is the focal point for the treatment of all psychiatric inmates within the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

Inmates from surrounding county correctional facilities who require intensive psychiatric care and treatment also can be committed to the center by court order.

Testimony of state Trooper Randolph Guy was that Craven had said in a recorded interview that he had planned his mother’s murder and his suicide, and that she had mentally abused him since he was a child.

Craven also reportedly tried to kill himself by various means.

He allegedly told investigating state troopers during an interview that when he didn’t succeed in his own suicide, he called his sister and asked her to take him a gun to kill himself because he had killed their mother. He then called 911.

A state police investigator at Craven’s preliminary hearing told how he matter-of-factly related in an interview with police what he did to his mother, without showing signs of sadness or distress. 

He said Craven was fully cooperative and didn’t try to minimize what happened, nor was he deceptive.

Craven’s defense counsel in court was Pittsburgh attorney David J. Shrager. District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa prosecuted the case.



Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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