The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 2, 2010

Execution on hold for Clinton County hatchet murderer

LOCK HAVEN — A central Pennsylvania judge this week granted a stay of execution for a woman convicted of slaying her World War II-veteran neighbor with a hatchet.

A Clinton County jury five years ago found Shonda Walter guilty in the 2003 death of 83-year-old James Sementelli in his Lock Haven home. Prosecutors described the attack as a gang initiation and robbery that netted her $500 and his car.

Sementelli was a veteran of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Clinton County President Judge J. Michael Williamson granted defense attorneys' request for a stay in order to prepare court filings. Now 30, Walter had been scheduled to be executed April 22 by lethal injection.

It would be only the third time in state history that a woman has been executed.

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