Pa. man resentenced to life in 1983 murder of hitchhiker

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A man has been re-sentenced to life in prison without parole after prosecutors decided not to pursue the death penalty in the murder of a hitchhiker in western Pennsylvania 3 1/2 decades ago.

The Herald-Standard of Uniontown reports that 61-year-old Scott Blystone of Fairchance was also sentenced Tuesday to an additional 10 to 20 years on a robbery conviction.

Blystone was originally sentenced to death in the 1983 murder of 24-year-old Dalton Smithburger. Fayette County prosecutors said he picked up the victim, demanded money for gas, then robbed him of $13 and shot him six times in the back of the head.

A federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing, saying the defense should have called mental health specialists who might have persuaded jurors to sentence him to life.

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