The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

November 14, 2012

Governor signs death warrant for man convicted in four-county murder spree

HARRISBURG - Gov. Tom Corbett has signed an execution warrant for Mark Newton Spotz, convicted of kidnapping, robbing and murdering a York County woman during a four-county homicide spree that extended into Dauphin and Schuylkill counties in 1995.

This execution warrant is for the murder of Penny Gunnet, 41, who was the third of Spotz’s four murder victims during a homicidal rampage between late January and early February 1995.

Gunnet was carjacked on her way to work around 6 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 2, 1995.

Spotz forced his way into her car at gunpoint, stealing her cash, credit cards, wedding rings and other jewelry.

Gunnet’s body was found beneath her abandoned car several hours later. During the carjacking, she had been shot and run over, a pathologist said.

Spotz was arrested, tried separately and convicted in four counties for killing his brother and three women. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for each woman he killed. For his brother’s death, Spotz was sentenced to 17 to 35 years in prison.

Now 41, Spotz is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Greene.

His execution for Gunnet’s murder has been scheduled for Jan. 8, 2013.

The killing spree began Jan. 31, 1995, in Clearfield County when Spotz shot his brother, Dustin, after a fight.

He fled the area, stopping in Schuylkill County on Feb. 1, 1995. There, around 5:30 a.m., Spotz encountered June Ohlinger who had just arrived at the convenience store where she worked.

Spotz forced her at gunpoint back into her car, stealing her money and jewelry, including her wedding ring. Spotz then ordered Ohlinger out of the car, walked her to the center of the bridge and forced her to stand on a bridge railing. He then shot her in the back of her head and kicked her body into the creek below. Spotz drove off with her car.

The following day, concerned that he had been driving Ohlinger’s car for 24 hours and that the police might be tracking him, Spotz told his girlfriend he was going to get “the next woman.’’

The next woman was Gunnet, who like Ohlinger was on her way to work when she stopped her car at an intersection in York. A gun-wielding Spotz forced his way into her car, drove around for awhile, shot her twice at close range and then abandoned her car and dead body.

About an hour later, a police officer was called to investigate an abandoned car. Gunnet’s dead body lay twisted underneath the car with dried blood on her face and clothes.

Later that day, Spotz traveled to Harrisburg and abducted 71-year-old Betty Amstutz near her home in Dauphin County.

He drove with Amstutz to two banks, cashing checks worth a total of $1,600, and then used her credit card to make purchases at a sporting goods store and to rent a room at a Carlisle motel.

Hours later, Spotz then drove Amstutz to a rural road outside of Carlisle, shot her numerous times and left her bullet-riddled body in a roadside ditch.

Spotz then drove back to town, picked up friends, bought drugs and returned to the motel, bragging how he had shot and killed his brother and “these other women.’’

Shortly before 9 a.m. the next morning, Feb. 3, 1995, police located Spotz and surrounded the motel. Spotz saw the police, tossed his gun outside and turned himself in to authorities.

Spotz’s warrant for the murder of Gunnet is the 21st execution warrant signed by Governor Corbett.

Executions in Pennsylvania are carried out by lethal injection.

 

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