Murder conviction in death of Pa. homeless man

November 10, 2012 6:24:31 AM PST
A man who pleaded guilty to third-degree murder but then withdrew the plea and went to trial has been convicted of first-degree murder in the drowning death of another homeless man in central Pennsylvania.

The (Lancaster) Sunday News says jurors in Lancaster County returned the verdict Friday afternoon following three days of testimony in the trial of 31-year-old Tyrick Walker of Columbia in the April 2011 death of 40-year-old Mark McLaughlin.

Police in West Hempfield Township alleged that Walker punched McLaughlin at a riverside homeless camp, then dragged the struggling victim into the Susquehanna River and held him underwater.

Walker had faced a maximum 20- to 40-year term after his plea, but now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

Information from: Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era