2009-11-19 / Local & State

No Recusal By PA Judge In Child Starvation Appeal

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) – A western Pennsylvania judge has declined a defense request to step aside rather than hear a death row inmate’s appeal in the starvation death of her 7- year-old daughter a decade ago.

Defense attorneys had asked Washington County Judge Paul Pozonsky to recuse himself before a Dec. 14 hearing for 40-yearold Michelle Tharp. She was convicted of killing Tausha Lee Lanham, who weighed less than 12 pounds at the time of her death in 1998.

Attorneys cited, among other things, the judge having played a sad country western song about an abused child moments before he imposed the death penalty.

Authorities say the child’s body was dumped in West Virginia by Tharp and her boyfriend, who is serving a 15- to 30-year sentence, and they later reported the child abducted at an Ohio shopping mall.

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