Severcool sentencing now in September

ROXANNE SEVERCOOL

BY STACI WILSON

Roxanne Severcool, the woman convicted of killing her parents and one brother in Springville Twp., 32 years ago, will have to wait until at least September before she is re-sentenced for her crimes.

Severcool is scheduled to be re-sentenced for the murders after a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling declared mandatory life in prison without parole sentences imposed on juvenile offenders in homicide cases is unconstitutional.

Severcool was about two months shy of her 18th birthday when she, along with her then boyfriend Robert Fadden, killed Lester Severcool, 43; Mary Severcool, 38; and Ted Severcool, 10, on August 19-20, 1980 by shooting them in their home with a .22-caliber rifle. Another son, James, was also shot but survived.

Severcool, now age 49, was sentenced in February 1982 to life in prison without parole after she was convicted on three counts of first degree murder.

Fadden, who was 24 at the time of crime and the shooter, was sentenced, also in Feb. 1982, to serve three consecutive life terms following a jury conviction.

Severcool had filed a post-sentence relief (PCRA) petition in 2010, which was put on hold at the county court level, pending a decision on a case that was, at the time, waiting to be decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (Commonwealth vs. Batts).

The Batts case was stayed by the court until the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Miller v.Alabama, which it did in June.

A sentencing hearing for Severcool had been scheduled to be held in the Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas for Tuesday, July 17 but was continued to Sept. 14.

District Attorney Jason Legg said the defense attorney requested the continuance. He said he agreed to the motion because of “uncertainties that continue to swirl around (theU.S.Supreme Court) decision.”

Legg said there is a question as to whether Miller v.Alabamashould be applied retroactively. “Both the Commonwealth and the defense are researching that issue.  In the interim, there may be some other courts making decisions on the retroactivity issue that could provide some additional guidance,” Legg said.

He continued, “Second, in the event that Miller v. Alabama is applied retroactively, the defense needed additional time to obtain Ms. Severcool’s correctional records, evaluations and history for purposes of demonstrating her efforts toward rehabilitation during her incarceration over the past 30 years. ”

Since her arrest, Severcool has been incarcerated – first in the juvenile system and then the adult state prison system.

According to court documents, Severcool has been held since June 28 in the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility awaiting her sentencing hearing.