Reporting Michelle Durham
Filed underCrime and Justice, Heard On, Local, News, Philadelphia, Syndicated Local, Watch + Listen
By Michelle Durham and Pat Ciarrocchi
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia judge today sentenced the woman convicted of the first-degree murder of two coworkers and the attempted murder of a third at the Kraft Foods Plant in Northeast Philadelphia in September 2010 (see previous story).
Yvonne Hiller received the mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and Judge Bernard Lerner made a point to address how important victim impact statements are in the process.
And there were statements made on both sides.
Latonya Brown was one of those killed that day, and her mother, Terral Brown, was wearing a t-shirt with her daughter’s picture on it today.
“I’m just so glad, thank God, that this is going to be over,” Brown said afterward. “It’s not going to bring my daughter back or my grandchildren’s mother back, but at least we’ll have some kind of peace knowing she (Hiller) will never walk the streets again.”
“I thought the judge spoke beautifully and movingly when he imposed a separate penalty (for each crime),” said Philadelphia assistant district attorney Gail Fairman, “even though, as he acknowledged, it doesn’t make a practical difference. A separate penalty for each death and the attempted murder, to show the preciousness of life — those were his words, not mine, I’m quoting.”
Bryant Dalton, who was wounded by Hiller (see shooting story), talked about how fearful he has become since that day, saying he can’t be the husband or father he wants to be.
A victim impact statement was also made on behalf of the defendant. Hiller’s niece, Stacy Hester, first expressed condolences to the families and then told Judge Lerner that Hiller’s actions were not from the person she has known.
Hiller herself addressed the court about her repeated attempts before the shooting to get help for what she claimed was harassment by coworkers.
The specific sentence for Hiller was life without possibility of parole for the death of Tanya Wilson, life without possibility of parole for the death of Latonya Brown, and 10-20 years for the attempted murder of Bryant Dalton. The court also ordered additional psychiatric testing and evaluation for Hiller.