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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Superior Court: Child Rapist and Murderer Deserves No New Trial

Pennsylvania's Superior Court today refused to grant a new trial to an Easton man first convicted in 1989 of the rape and murder of an 11-year old child whose body was found near an abandoned railroad on the South Side. He was sentenced to life in prison. The Innocence Project claimed that Scott Oliver was entitled to a new trial  based on inconclusive DNA tests.

Oliver provided the beer for a group of minors, which included the 11 year old Melissa Jaroschak, on August 20, 1989. He attended a party with them, was seen spending time alone with her and occasionally walking with his arm around her. They left the party together at about 8:30 p.m. that evening.

She never made it home.

When her body was found, an autopsy revealed she had been beaten, choked, raped, sodomized and then strangled to death with her own sweatshirt. Though he initially claimed he had done nothing more than walk the victim home, he later gave police a four-page confession.

In a statement, NorCo DA John Morganelli indicated that Oliver had been successfully prosecuted by his predecessor, Don Corriere. Morganelli handled the subsequent appeals. "Today should put this case to rest for all time," stated Morganelli, hoping that the Court's opinion puts "the victim's family at ease knowing that Mr. Oliver will die in prison serving out his deserved life sentence."


Anonymous said...

You know, sometimes I read about what the Innocence Project is doing, or has done, and it is commendable.

Then you hear about things like this, which seem so cut and dry. I'd love to hear their take on the case. Why do they believe that it was mishandled? It seems like the I.P. is staffed by a lot of overzealous law students - good intentions, but occasional really reaching ideas.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To be fair, The Innocence Project eventually withdrew.

Anonymous said...

@4:06 PM When the IP found out the DNA was inconclusive, they walked away.

That tells you they didn't have faith that without DNA he would prevail. Earlier DNA tests suggested another perpetrator may be indicated. So you can guess that they were pursuing it because they hoped DNA would exonerate him.

Anonymous said...

I used to work with Mr. Oliver's mother and can remember back in 2010/2011 when this latest dispute over DNA evidence was first brought to light, she seemed so happy and sure her son would be vindicated and then released.

The victims in these cases are many, she was a nice woman and I genuinely believe she felt he was innocent, how hard it must be to believe a son, spouse or parent could be capable of something so monstrous.