Manderachs' Killer Seeks New Trial
Caleb Fairley is appealing his 1996 conviction in the killing of a Limerick woman and her daughter.
Lisa and Devon Manderach are memorialized here in Limerick Township, at the playground that bears their name.
Saturday, during Limerick Community Day, several new pieces of playground equipment were opened to the public. Groups of children swung and twirled and climbed all over the playground while parents watched.
Manderach Memorial Playground, opened in 1998, commemorates the lives of the mother and daughter who were murdered in Collegeville 17 years ago.
Earlier this week, however, the Manderachs' convicted killer lobbied for a new trial.
Caleb Fairley, then 21, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the 1995 killings, which were committed inside a Collegeville store owned by Fairley's parents.
According to an article in the Pottstown Mercury, Fairley is asking the court to vacate his two life sentences following a Supreme Court decision that called mandatory life sentences for juvenile homicide offenders unconstitutional.
The June 2012 decision says that sentencing juvenile offenders to life without parole violates the Eighth Amendment's provision disallowing cruel and unusual punishment. Juvenile offenders, the Court says in its decision, have "lesser culpability" for criminal behavior.
Fairley argues that, despite the fact that he was 21 at the time of the killings, he should be afforded the same considerations as an offender under the age of 18 because 21-year-olds are still developing adult characteristics.
Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor, Jr., who served as First Assistant District Attorney at the time of the trial, declined to comment on Fairley's efforts but clearly didn't think much of Fairley's chances.
"I no longer speak for the District Attorney's Office. But I will come to court and laugh when he makes the argument," Castor said in an e-mail.