Pa. man gets life for murder over $1 million bill

April 14, 2011 7:23:27 AM PDT
A northwestern Pennsylvania man has been formally sentenced to life in prison for murdering a man and stealing a novelty $1 million bill he later used to try to buy drugs.

Forty-seven-year-old Donald Howard's sentencing Wednesday was a formality, because his February conviction on second-degree murder and other charges carried a mandatory sentence for the Union City man.

Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri says Howard was desperate for money to buy crack cocaine and killed 79-year-old Raymond Goodwill Jr. of Union Township on Independence Day in 2009. Police say Howard later tried to pay a drug dealer with a gag $1 million bill that the victim's relatives said Goodwill always carried in his wallet.

The Erie Times-News says Howard maintains his innocence and plans to appeal, but Daneri says the suspect is "someone who just denies, denies, denies."

Information from: Erie Times-News