Meadville Tribune

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July 9, 2013

State Superior Court upholds Wiley convictions

MEADVILLE — The double homicide and robbery convictions of Gary C. Wiley of Linesville have been upheld by Pennsylvania Superior Court.

In March 2012, Wiley, 40, was convicted in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas by a jury for the April 10, 2010, shooting deaths of Tod Prenatt, 51, and Laurie Prenatt, 44, at the Prenatts’ Linesville-area home.

Wiley’s motive for killing the Prenatts was the Prenatts knew Wiley had robbed the Rite Aid drug store in Linesville on April 2, 2010, according to District Attorney Francis J. Schultz, who prosecuted the case.

For his convictions on first-degree murder of the Prenatts, Wiley was sentenced by President Judge Anthony Vardaro to two life terms in prison. Wiley also was sentenced to one to 10 years in prison for the one burglary conviction and two to 20 years on the second burglary conviction. Those burglary terms run concurrently with the life prison terms.

In a 17-page memorandum filed Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed Wiley’s convictions stemming from his murders of Tod and Laurie Prenatt on April 10, 2010, in Linesville.

“It’s a good opinion for us,” Schultz said Tuesday. “It’s a great day for justice and for the family and friends of Tod and Laurie Prenatt.”

J. Wesley Rowden, Wiley’s defense attorney, said Tuesday he planned to appeal the Superior Court’s ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

However, unlike the state’s lower courts, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court doesn’t automatically have to hear the appeal.

In its ruling, Superior Court upheld Vardaro’s pretrial rulings regarding the admissibility of certain types of evidence presented at trial, including witness statements about Wiley and Tod Prenatt arguing on the day of the murders about Wiley stealing Oxycontin, a prescription painkiller, from Tod Prenatt.

“I thought it was important to obtain pretrial rulings regarding certain statements and the admissibility of Wiley’s robbery conviction of the Linesville Rite Aid Pharmacy so that I knew what I had to work with before the trial started,” Schultz said. “Judge Vardaro wrote an extensive memorandum explaining his pretrial rulings. The Superior Court properly concluded that we presented overwhelming evidence of Wiley’s guilt.”

Schultz also reiterated his praise for the Pennsylvania State Police of Meadville, whom investigated the case.

“Wiley would not have been brought to justice without the excellent work of Trooper Brian Ford and all of the investigators from the Pennsylvania State Police that were involved in the investigation.”

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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