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Thread: Death Penalty Trial Set for Gary Lee Fellenbaum in 2014 PA Beating and Torture Death of 3-year-old Scott McMillan

  1. #11
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    Death penalty sought against Pennsylvania pair charged in 3-year-old's torture, death

    Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against a suburban Philadelphia couple charged in the torture death of the woman's 3-year-old son.

    Officials say Jillian Tait and Gary Lee Fellenbaum III went shopping and ate pizza as the boy lay dying after weeks of escalating abuse.

    They were formally charged Wednesday with murder, child abuse, conspiracy and other crimes during their video arraignment from a Chester County Prison.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the couple did not speak at the brief hearing. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and earlier waived a preliminary hearing.

    The Chester County District Attorney's Office filed paperwork to seek the death penalty against Tait and Fellenbaum if they are convicted.

    Authorities say Scott McMillan was hung upside and beaten with a frying pan before his Nov. 4 death in the family's mobile home in Coatesville. They say his 6-year-old brother was also abused.

    http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/brea...l#incart_river
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
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  2. #12
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    New attorney in ‘Scotty’ murder case

    WEST CHESTER - The man allegedly at the center of the brutal murder of 3-year-old Scott “Scotty” McMillan has hired a new attorney to represent him in the death penalty case he faces, a move that is not expected to delay the eventual trial next year, according to those involved.

    Gary Lee Fellenbaum III appeared in Common Pleas Court Monday before Judge William P. Mahon to formally ask that the two members of the Chester County Public Defender’s Office representing him be removed from the case and his new, private attorney, allowed to appear on his behalf.

    His new attorney, George Yacoubian of Philadelphia, entered his appearance on May 25.

    First Assistant Public Defender Nathan M. Schenker, who along with Assistant Public Defender Loreen Kemps had represented Fellenbaum since his arrest in November 2014, asked Mahon to formally allow them to withdraw as his attorneys. Mahon did so after asking Fellenbaum if that was what he wanted.

    Fellenbaum, 24, clean shaven and dressed in a black T-shirt and black pants, said it was. He did not elaborate on why he chose to switch attorneys.

    “Are you comfortable with this?” Mahon asked Fellenbaum. “Yes,” the defendant answered.

    Afterward, Fellenbaum was returned to Chester County Prison, where he has been held without bail since his arrest. Yacoubian declined comment outside the courtroom.

    Yacoubian, a former prosecutor who has represented clients such as the lead defendant in the so-called “Tacony House of Horrors” case in Philadelphia, and who was briefly mentioned as a possible representative of former television personality Don Tollefson, will now get all the discovery and defense related material that the Public Defender’s Office has received in the intervening months since Fellenbaum’s arrest.

    Yacoubian told Mahon that he would be prepared for a pre-trial conference to discuss scheduling later this summer, and that he expected to begin filing pre-trial motions on behalf of his client in September.

    Mahon asked if he would be ready to try to case in May 2017, and Yacoubian indicated that he would, absent any unforeseen issues arising.

    First Assistant Michael Noone, who is prosecuting the case with Deputy District Attorney Deborah Ryan of the DA’s Child Abuse Unit, asked whether Yacoubian was going to need assistance from a so-called mitigation counsel, who would handle the case if Fellenbaum is found guilty of first-degree murder and consequently faced a penalty phase in the trial. But Mahon said he did not expect that Yacoubian would have to answer that question.

    “I am not going to get in and micro-manage this case,” the judge said.

    Scott McMillan was found unresponsive at the West Caln home that his mother, Jillian Tait, had been sharing with Fellenbaum, her boyfriend, and his wife, Amber Fellenbaum, sometime in September 2014. She had two sons who lived with them, as well as Fellenbaum’s child.

    Beginning in October, according to the allegations set forth in the case against the Fellenbaums and Tait, Gary Fellenbaum began physically abusing both the boys. The abuse included punches and beatings, but also whipping with a crudely fashioned “cat o’nine tails,” and tying the boys to chairs or hanging them upside down by their feet.

    Allegedly Fellenbaum’s beating of Scott McMillan escalated to the point where he could not hold down his food. Angered, Fellenbaum allegedly punched him in the face so hard he fell out of his chair, and later punched him in the stomach. The boy began vomiting and later passed out. Although Fellenbaum and Tait tried to revive him, they left him alone in a bedroom for several hours before finding him completely unresponsive.

    Both allegedly gave incriminating statements to police investigators after their arrests.

    In 2011, Yacoubian was hired to represent Linda Ann Weston, the alleged ringleader in the “Tacony House of Horrors” case. She was accused of a mountain of crimes, including two murders, kidnapping, racketeering, conspiracy, hate crimes, wire and mail fraud, sex trafficking and forced human labor.

    Authorities said Weston and four co-defendants lured and abused mentally disabled people and stole $212,000 in disability payments.

    Six adults and four children were victimized between 2001 and October 2011 in Philadelphia, Texas, Virginia and Florida, prosecutors said. Weston and her co-defendants were arrested in October 2011, after Philadelphia police discovered four victims locked in the filthy basement of a Tacony apartment building.

    Yacoubian was removed from the case after it was transferred to federal court. At the time, the judge overseeing the trial decided that Yacoubian did not have enough experience with capital punishment cases in the federal system, according to news reports.

    Last week, the United Way of Chester County dedicated one of its “Born Learning” trail initiatives at the Struble Trail in Downingtown to honor Scott McMillan’s memory.

    http://www.delcotimes.com/article/DC...NEWS/160629967

  3. #13
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    Trial date set in ‘Scotty’ McMillan murder case

    The Common Pleas Court judge overseeing the cases of three people accused in the brutal torture and murder of 3-year-old Scott “Scotty” McMillan has set April 3 as the date the first defendant will go to trial.

    On Friday, Judge William P. Mahon addressed the case of Gary Lee Fellenbaum III with his attorney, George Yacoubian of Philadelphia, as well as with the attorney representing Fellenbaum’s girlfriend and co-defendant in the capital murder case, Jillian Tate.

    Yacobian told the judge that he was prepared to go forward with the trial schedule that Mahon had set in August, of getting all of the prosecution’s discovery by Sept. 1, of filing all pre-trial motions by Nov. 1, and of starting jury selection on the first Monday in April. Because the prosecution is seeking the death penalty, the selection process will likely take the better part of a week.

    Mahon said the Chester County District Attorney’s Office had signaled its intention to try each of the defendants — Fellenaum, Tait, and Fellenbaum’s wife, Amber Fellenbaum — separately, beginning with Gary Fellenbaum. But Yacoubian, who said a recent health issue he experience would not alter his schedule in the case, indicated that he would file a motion to consolidate his client’s case with Tait’s.

    Mahon said that he had set the same schedule for the trial of Tait, in the unanticipated event that the case against Fellenbaum “falls apart” for any reason.

    But Laurence Harmelin, the Wester Chester attorney representing Tait, told Mahon shortly after Yacoubian’s appearance that it appeared to him unlikely that his client’s case would go to trial.

    “I would say that the likelihood of Jillian Tait going to trial is well less than 50-50,” Harmelin said during a discussion of the case. “I don’t think that’s going to happen. My expectation is that it is going to be worked out” — meaning that Tait would enter a plea in the case.

    Yacoubian formally continued Gary Fellenbaum’s case until Mahon’s October trial session, with the understanding that the matter would not be reached until next spring. Neither Gary Fellenbaum nor Tait were in the courtroom while the discussions occurred. They are being held without bail in Chester County Prison.

    First Assistant District Attorney Michael Noone, who is leading the prosecution with Deputy District Attorney Deborah Ryan, declined comment, citing the ongoing nature of the case.

    “Scotty” McMillan’s death and the arrest of his three alleged killers drew national and international attention at the time, and still resonates with those who first hear of it.

    On Nov. 4, 2014 Scott McMillan was found unresponsive at the West Caln home that his mother, Tait, had been sharing with Gary Fellenbaum and his wife, Amber Fellnbaum sometime in September 2014, after a call to 911 from Amber Fellenbaum. Tait had two sons who lived with them, as well as Fellenbaum’s child.

    Beginning in October, according to the accusations set forth in the case against the Fellenbaums and Tait, Gary Fellenbaum began physically abusing both of Tait’s children. The abuse included punches and beatings, but also whipping with a crudely fashioned “cat o’nine tails,” and tying the boys to chairs or hanging them upside down by their feet.

    Allegedly Gary Fellenbaum’s beating of Scott McMillan escalated to the point where he could not hold down his food. Angered, Fellenbaum allegedly punched him in the face so hard he fell out of his chair, and later punched him in the stomach. The boy began vomiting and later passed out. Although Fellenbaum and Tait tried to revive him, they left him alone in a bedroom for several hours before finding him completely unresponsive.

    Both Gary Fellenbaum and Tait allegedly gave incriminating statements to police investigators after their arrests.

    http://www.dailylocal.com/general-ne...an-murder-case

  4. #14
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    Attorneys: Move ‘Scotty’ murder trial out of Chester County

    Attorneys for the man and woman accused of the brutal torture and murder of 3-year-old Scott “Scotty” McMillan want the trial of their clients moved from Chester County, or to have the jurors in the capital case chosen from another locale and brought here, saying the extensive pre-trial press and social media accounts of his death have forever tainted the local jury pool against them.

    The requests come among a multitude of pre-trial motions filed by both defendants and the prosecution in the case, which began two years ago with the discovery of McMillan’s lifeless body on Nov. 4, 2014, in the home he shared with his mother, brother, and the man who authorities said assaulted him repeatedly over the course of some weeks.

    In pre-trial motions filed recently with Common Pleas Judge William P. Mahon, defense attorney George S. Yacoubian Jr. of Radnor, who represents Gary Lee Fellenbaum, said that his client’s constitutional right to a fair trial had been hopelessly compromised by the pre-trial publicity the case had received in newspaper articles, television broadcasts, and internet posting.

    “The self-evident conclusion is that this county has been so saturated with the facts underlying this case that it is impossible for defendant to receive a fair trial before a jury of impartial persons who learn of the case only through the evidence properly admitted during trial,” Yacoubian wrote in his request for a change of venue.

    Laurence Harmelin of West Chester, a veteran county defense attorney representing Jillian Tait, McMillan’s mother and Fellenbaum’s girlfriend, also filed a motion requesting the trial be moved.

    Harmelin made mention of almost one dozen articles about the McMillan murder and the upcoming trial in the Daily Local News, as well as an online poll that appeared in 2015 asking “Death Penalty for Couple Who Tortured Boy?” He noted that many of the stories included graphic descriptions of McMillan’s death and the allegations against Tait.

    “The wide dissemination of such gruesome, sympathy-engendering, front-page news stories, Facebook articles and internet polls, has created a substantial likelihood that a fair trial cannot be provided, as it will be impossible for the defendant to select a fair and impartial jury of citizens from Chester County,” Harmelin wrote.

    Both attorneys ask Mahon to either move to trial to another county in the state, or in the alternative to bring residents of another county here to hear the case.

    A hearing on that motion, as well as the three dozen or more others that were filed by the deadline Mahon imposed earlier of Nov. 1, will be held on Jan. 5, 2017. The trial is scheduled to start April 3, 2017, with jury selection.

    Mahon has reportedly expressed concern privately about the jury selection process in the case of both Fellenbaum and Tait, who at this point will be tried together. Not only is the trial one in which the prosecution is seeking the death penalty against both defendants, which would require extensive questioning of each panelist to see whether they could impose a death sentence, but it also has been the subject of much discussion in the media, both locally and nationally.

    In addition, the allegations themselves that have been made against both defendants — that they participated in the beating and torture of 3-year-old Scotty and his older brother, now 8, and kept him from medical care in the West Caln trailer home they shared with Fellenbuam’s wife, Amber Marie Fellenbaum, and the Fellenbaum’s young child — could make it extraordinarily difficult to impanel a jury made up of people who declare they could judge the case fairly on the facts alone and not on sympathy for the victims.

    Mahon is reportedly considering calling in dozens more prospective jurors from the county than the 124 he had summoned in the last death penalty case over which he presided, that of Coatesville chainsaw killer Laquanta Chapman. He has also noted that extra alternate jurors might need to be empaneled because of the possibility that some jurors chosen might not be emotionally able to complete the trial.

    The last time a trial for a county crime was tried out of the county was reportedly the escape case involving then-convicted murderer Nicholas Yarris, who jumped out of a constable’s car in West Whiteland and fled while being transported from state prison to Delaware County. That was held in Carlisle, Cumberland County in the mid-1980s.

    The infamous Johnston Brothers murder trials were also heard by out-of-county juries in the early 1980s.

    Yacoubian, the private attorney who was hired by Gary Fellenbaum’s family to replace the county’s Public Defender’s Office over the summer, has made it clear in his motions that he is very concerned about the way the jurors are given the evidence in the case.

    In his motions, he asks Mahon to forbid all “in-life photographs” of McMillan that might prove inflammatory to the jurors; shield them from knowing beforehand what case they might be hearing; and order that there be strict rules about behavior by those attending the trial, including no talking or shaking heads during testimony, or displaying signs, banners, or clothing that might be prejudicial, both in the courtroom and outside the courthouse.

    For its part, the prosecution also filed motions in the case last week. In them, they ask Mahon to allow a computer simulation of the case to be used in opening statements, and to have McMillan’s older brother, who is expected to testify, give his testimony outside the presence of Fellenbaum. First District Attorney Michael Noone, who is leading the prosecution, also asked Mahon to allow an unidentified “support person” to be with the older child when he testifies.

    The Daily Local News is not reporting the name of the older brother.

    Gary Fellenbaum, 25, Tait, 32, and Amber Fellenbaum, 25, all worked at the Walmart in western Chester County in the summer and early fall of 2014. Tait moved in with the Fellenbaums at a trailer home on Hope Lane sometime in September, 2014.

    Beginning in October 2014, according to the allegations set forth in the case against the Fellenbaums and Tait, Gary Fellenbaum began physically abusing both of Tait’s sons. The abuse included punches and beatings, but also whipping with a crudely fashioned “cat o’nine tails,” and tying the boys to chairs or hanging them upside down by their feet.

    Allegedly Fellenbaum’s beating of Scott McMillan escalated to the point where the boy could not hold down his food. Angered, Fellenbaum allegedly punched him in the face so hard he fell out of his chair, and later punched him in the stomach. The boy began vomiting and later passed out. Although Fellenbaum and Tait tried to revive him, they left him alone in a bedroom for several hours before finding him completely unresponsive in the evening of Nov. 4, 2014.

    Both allegedly gave incriminating statements to police investigators after their arrests. Yacoubian and Harmelin have asked Mahon, in their motions, to suppress those statements, saying they were given under duress.

    Amber Fellenbaum, who did not participate in the alleged abuse, called 911. She is not charged with murder, but rather with endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person.

    http://www.dailylocal.com/general-ne...chester-county
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  5. #15
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    Judge orders psych evalution for man in horrific slaying of 3-year-old

    A Chester County Court judge ordered a psychological evaluation for a man charged in the continual abuse and beating death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old son in 2014.

    Gary Lee Fellenbaum III, 25, and his girlfriend, 33-year-old Jillian Tait, are accused of beating 3-year-old Scott McMillan and his 6-year-old brother with their fists, frying pans, metal rods, and whips.

    Police said the adults also hung the children upside down by their feet and beat them and taped Scott to chair and beat him until he was unconscious.

    The abuse had continued for some time, and the fatal beatings occurred from Nov. 2 to Nov. 4, 2014, inside Fellenbaum's mobile home in West Caln Township, officials said.

    Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty for Tait and Fellenbaum.

    At a hearing in West Chester on Thursday, Judge William P. Mahon said he had received a handwritten letter from Fellenbaum on Jan. 10 in which he said he wanted to represent himself at trial. Mahon said he notified prosecutors and Fellenbaum's attorney, George S. Yacoubian Jr., neither of whom knew of the letter.

    After Yacoubian talked to Fellenbaum, the attorney sent a letter to the judge, saying his client did not wish to represent himself and asking for a competency evaluation for Fellenbaum.

    On Thursday, Yacoubian said he no longer thought the evaluation was necessary.

    "In conversations with Mr. Fellenbaum, there were some issues that concerned me that prompted my request for a competency hearing," Yacoubian told the judge.

    But, he said, after talking further with Fellenbaum, it was now clear to him his client is competent and understands the court proceedings. He said Fellenbaum's statements that made him question his client's mental state came from "undue influence" from fellow inmates at the Chester County Prison.

    Michael Noone, Chester County's first assistant district attorney, said a dismissal of the initial request for a psychological evaluation might raise questions later about the integrity of a possible conviction.

    "At this point, once competency is raised, the proverbial genie is out of the bottle and needs to be addressed," Noone said.

    The judge agreed and gave the defense 45 days to finalize a psychological evaluation report.

    The judge rescheduled the trial, which had been set to start in early April, for September 18. It is expected to draw a jury pool of 250 or more and last three weeks.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/ne...-year-old.html
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  6. #16
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    2 former Lancaster residents plead guilty to roles in 2014 torture death of 3-year-old in Chester County

    By Jonas Fortune
    Lancaster Online

    Two former Lancaster County women have pleaded guilty to their roles in the 2014 torture death of a 3-year-old boy.

    Jillian Tait, 33, pleaded guilty to charges including third-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of her son, Scott McMillan.

    Amber Fellenbaum, 24, pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree felony endangering the welfare of a child and two misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person.

    As part of the plea agreements, both women are now required to testify against Gary Lee Fellenbaum III, 25, in his upcoming murder trial.

    The former Solanco School District student is charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, criminal homicide and several other charges related to the boy's Nov. 4, 2014, death.

    He faces the death penalty.

    Tait, a 2003 Garden Spot graduate, won't face the death penalty as part of the plea agreement accepted Wednesday by Chester County Judge William P. Mahon.

    Instead, she faces a maximum sentence of 64 to 128 years in prison, according to the Chester County Clerk of Courts office.

    Amber Fellenbaum's felony charges each carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. She is a 2011 graduate of Penn Manor High School and is married to Gary Fellenbaum.

    Sentencing for both women was deferred until after Gary Fellenbaum's trial, which was recently rescheduled. A new date has not been announced.

    McMillan was tortured over the course of several weeks after Tait, along with McMillan's 6-year-old brother, moved into a mobile home near Coatesville with Gary and Amber Fellenbaum, according to authorities. The Fellenbaum's 11-month old child also lived in the home.

    Tait was Gary Fellenbaum's girlfriend.

    Gary Fellenbaum is accused of torturing McMillan during the weeks they lived together.

    McMillan was whipped with a metal rod, hit with blunt and sharp objects and was taped to a chair and beaten, police said.

    Following a beating, McMillan became unconscious on Nov. 4 and was left in a room while Tait and Gary Fellenbaum shopped, ate pizza and napped, according to previous media reports.

    Tait and the Fellenbaums are currently held at Chester County Prison.

    Amber Fellenbaum is held in lieu of $500,000 bail, court records show. Tait and Gary Fellenbaum are ineligible for bail due to the nature of the charges.

    http://lancasteronline.com/news/loca...0b8292fad.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
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    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

  7. #17
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    Man ruled competent for capital murder trial in boy's death

    By Associated Press

    WEST CHESTER, Pa. – A judge has ruled a man competent for his capital murder trial in the beating death of his former girlfriend's young son and initially declined a defense request to move the proceedings or bring in an outside jury.

    The man, Gary Lee Fellenbaum III, is scheduled for trial in September in the death of 3-year-old Scott McMillan. District Attorney Thomas Hogan has said the boy "was systematically tortured and beaten to death" in 2014 in a mobile home in West Caln Township.

    Judge William P. Mahon, who ordered a psychological evaluation of Fellenbaum in January, ruled on Monday that the defendant is competent for trial in Chester County. Defense attorney George Yacoubian Jr. didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.

    Yacoubian, citing newspaper reports, social media posts and other publicity, said in court that "there is probably enough pretrial publicity" to warrant bringing up an outside jury. But Michael Noone, the county's first assistant district attorney, argued that publicity was not "so extensive, sustained and pervasive" to warrant such an action, and the judge said he agreed for the moment.

    "It's not my impression at this point the court would be incapable of selecting a fair and unbiased jury based on the evidence presented at this point," the judge said, but he added that the issue could be revisited if there was trouble assembling a panel.

    The boy's mother, Jillian Tait, pleaded guilty last week to third-degree murder and conspiracy and agreed to testify against Fellenbaum. Prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty if he is convicted of first-degree murder.

    Authorities said the couple had met working at a Wal-Mart several months earlier and moved in together in a mobile home park along with Fellenbaum's estranged wife, Tait's 6- and 3-year-old children and the Fellenbaums' 11-month-old daughter.

    Authorities alleged in court documents that spankings turned to abuse and the victim was finally "punched and beaten with blunt and sharp objects, whipped, taped to a chair with electrical tape and beaten, hung up by his feet and beaten and suffered other acts of violence."

    Prosecutors also alleged the couple went car shopping, bought pizza and engaged in sexual activity as the boy lay dying after weeks of escalating abuse.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/04/17...boy-death.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

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