HARRISBURG, Pa. – Execution dates are set for convicted murderers Herbert Blakeney, of Harrisburg and Hector Morales of York. Pa Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel signed three Notices of Execution today.
Blakeney was convicted in 2002 of first degree murder for nearly decapitating his ex-wife’s 14 month old son with an 8 inch butcher knife in front of family and police. It happened in an apartment on North 14th Street in Harrisburg on February 2, 2000.
Morales was convicted in 2009 of first degree murder in the shooting death of Ronald Lee Simmons, Jr., a police informant. Morales broke into Simmons home on North Tremont Street at about 1 am and shot him six times.
The execution date for Blakeney is set for September 3.
The execution date set for Morales is August 28.
The third death row inmate whose execution was set is Maurice Patterson. He was convicted for ordering a hit on a Philadelphia man in March 2007 from his Lycoming County jail cell.
The Notices of Execution were signed in the face of a moratorium on the death in Pennsylvania declared by Governor Tom Wolf that went into effect in February. Last month Governor Wolf issued a temporary reprieve halting the scheduled execution of Hubert Michael, convicted in 1994 for killing 16 year old Trista Eng of Dillsburg, York County.
The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association has called the Governor’s issue of a temporary reprieve unconstitutional and has joined in a court challenge of the Governor’s actions.
Pennsylvania has not carried out an execution since Gary Heidnik by lethal injection in 1999.