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NEW CASTLE Ricciardi gets life sentence in girl's murder



Published: Thu, February 20, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The jury deliberated Ricciardi's fate for seven minutes.

By PETER H. MILLIKEN

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Spared from the death penalty, Perry S. Ricciardi II has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars for the October 2000 murder of 12-year-old Shannon Leigh Kos of Youngstown.

The jury that convicted him Friday deliberated for only seven minutes Monday before recommending a life sentence, and Judge J. Craig Cox immediately sentenced Ricciardi to life for first-degree murder.

Concluding Ricciardi 's five-week trial, the judge also sentenced him to 10 to 20 years for conspiracy to commit rape and homicide, three to 20 years for kidnapping and one month to two years for unlawful restraint, all to be served concurrently with the life sentence.

Shannon's burned body was found in a culvert off East River Road in Lawrence County with multiple stab wounds and a slit throat.

District attorney's statement

"I'm pleased with the outcome. Perry Ricciardi was found by this jury beyond a reasonable doubt to be responsible for Shannon Kos' death, and now he can spend the rest of his life thinking about his actions on Oct. 8, 2000," said District Atty. Matt Mangino, who had sought the death penalty.

The only way Ricciardi, formerly of Struthers, could ever be released from prison would be for the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons to unanimously recommend clemency and for the governor to grant it, Mangino said.

"It's kind of surreal when you're asking the jury to return a sentence of life in prison without parole, but, be that as it may, it's obviously the option I prefer to the death penalty. I was encouraged that it took the jury seven minutes to make such a crucial decision," said defense Atty. Dennis Elisco.

To file motions

Elisco said he'll file motions for a new trial with Judge Cox. If they aren't successful, Elisco said he'll appeal Friday's guilty verdicts to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, and then, if necessary, to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

After Judge Cox denied on Monday morning Elisco's motion that the death penalty should not be considered, the jury heard testimony from Ricciardi's family and Ricciardi himself, then closing arguments from both attorneys.

Another defendant, William Monday, pleaded guilty to homicide charges last year and is serving a life prison sentence.

A third defendant, David Garvey, is scheduled to go on trial March 10, and Mangino said he'll seek the death penalty for him.

Both men are also formerly of Struthers.




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