The Allegheny County district attorney’s office last month said it will seek the death penalty against Pittsburgh man James Karr, who is accused of knocking his wife unconscious and setting her on fire. The announcement came just ten days after Pennsylvania’s governor placed a moratorium on the death penalty.
Maureen Karr, an administrator at UPMC Mercy, got a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order against her husband in December on grounds that he threatened to burn their house down. James Karr ignored the court order, killing his wife just hours after appearing at PFA Court in downtown Pittsburgh, according to police.
Prosecutors say the grisly incident met several criteria for the death penalty, which will be sought if James Karr is convicted of first-degree murder.
There are 186 death-row inmates in Pennsylvania, including nine from the Pittsburgh area. The state’s last execution occurred in 1999.