Court upholds death sentence in Willard murder

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Nov. 21 affirmed the order of Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Frank T. Hazel, issued on Sept. 4, 2012, which denied the Post Conviction Relief Act petition of Arthur Bomar.

Bomar was sentenced to death in 1998 for the brutal kidnapping, rape and first-degree murder of 22 year old college athlete Aimee Willard, daughter of former Chester police officer, Paul Willard. Aimee Willard had been out socializing with friends at a bar in Wayne one night in June, but she never made it home. Her abandoned vehicle was found on the Blue Route, near the Media bypass, with the lights on and a pool of blood by the car. Her naked and battered body was later found, face down, in a vacant lot in North Philadelphia. DNA evidence tied Bomar to the crime, along with statements he made to others, including a former girlfriend, his brother-in-law and another inmate.

“For the second time, the Supreme Court has upheld the defendant’s conviction and sentence, finding there was overwhelming evidence of his guilt and that and that he was effectively represented by trial and death penalty counsel,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan in a press release. “It is time for his sentence to be carried out without any further delay.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied Bomar’s direct appeal in 2003; however, in 2004, he then claimed that his previous attorney’s provided ineffective assistance, entitling him to a new trial.

Bomar alleged, among other things, that he was not competent; that the prosecution made secret, undisclosed deals with certain witness; that he had been incompetent to stand trial; that his penalty please attorney had failed to find, and introduce, certain mitigating evidence; that the DNA results were unreliable; that the District Attorney’s office illegally questioned him; that erred in conducting jury selection and erred in allowing certain outside information to effect the jury. Between 2008 and 2011, Judge Hazel conducted evidentiary hearings regarding Bomar’s allegations. Judge Hazel, in a 213 page comprehensive opinion, found these allegations to be meritless and, now, so has the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Last week’s decision means the governor will soon be required to sign a death warrant for the execution of Arthur Bomar. It is anticipated that Bomar and his attorneys will file a federal habeas corpus petition seeking relist in federal court, now that they have lost in state court.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel McDevitt tried the case for the prosecution, and Assistant District Attorney William Toal Jr, III has successfully handled all of the appeals and post-conviction litigation.



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