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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), October 31, 2014 | Go to article overview

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NORTH

Killer's parents testify in sentencing phase

The sentencing phase continued Thursday in the death penalty trial of a North Side man convicted of killing a Beaver Falls couple in 2008.

Robert Burgess' defense team called witnesses including Burgess' mother and father, who provided conflicting accounts about events in his childhood.

Burgess' mother testified that her son's father, Edward Burgess, mentally, physically and sexually abused her over several years. Court records show he was convicted of raping her in 1984, but the Post-Gazette does not name victims of sexual assault.

She also described an incident of inappropriate sexual contact involving the younger Mr. Burgess and his father, an allegation the elder man denied.

In an unrelated case, Edward Burgess, 59, was convicted in 1991 of sexually assaulting four girls ranging from 10 to 12 years old, according to an online sex offender registry.

A jury on Tuesday convicted Robert Burgess, 37, of two counts of first-degree murder and related crimes in the shooting deaths of Richard and Demetria Harper, both 32, that followed what investigators described as a drug-related dispute.

Senior Common Pleas Judge John P. Dohanich of Beaver County is expected to charge the jury for sentencing this morning.

CITY

Mayor picks acting EMS chief for permanent job

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Thursday nominated acting Emergency Medical Services chief Mark Bocian to a permanent position.

Chief Bocian has been leading the EMS bureau in an acting capacity since former chief Robert McCaughan resigned in 2012.

Mr. Peduto said in a statement: "Chief Bocian is one of the city's most committed public servants. With 39 years on the job and the respect of his peers in public safety and citywide, it is clear he was the right person to head the bureau."

A confirmation hearing date has not yet been set.

Former professor at Pitt sentenced in drug case

A former University of Pittsburgh professor pleaded no contest this week to using university and federal grant money to obtain narcotics, which police said he then injected. …

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