Governor Corbett Signs Execution Warrants of Two Men Convicted of Murder
Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today signed execution warrants for two men, one convicted of killing a night watchman during a robbery in Jefferson County, and the other convicted of killing two women, one – a witness to another homicide in Philadelphia.
Robert Gene Rega was convicted in Jefferson County Court of first-degree murder for the execution-style shooting of night watchman, 50-year-old Christopher Lauth, during a robbery on the evening of Dec. 21, 2000.
Laquaille Bryant was convicted in Philadelphia County Court of two counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of Chante Wright and Octavia Green in the early morning hours of Jan. 19, 2008.
Both men are incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Greene. Rega’s execution has been scheduled for Jan. 28, 2014. Bryant’s execution date has been scheduled for Jan. 29, 2014.
The execution warrants signed today for Rega and Bryant were Governor Corbett’s 28th and 29th warrants signed since taking office.
Executions in Pennsylvania are carried out by lethal injection. For more information, visit the Department of Corrections online at www.cor.state.pa.us and select “Death Penalty’’ from the left-side navigation bar.
Rega, now 47, was sentenced to death in June 2002 in Jefferson County Court.
Motivated by a lack of money to buy Christmas presents for his children, Rega recruited several friends to go to a local motel and hold the night watchman hostage, and then forced the owner to give them money from the ATM and safe.
The robbers went to the motel and confronted the night watchman, but the owner could not be found. Changing their plans, Rega stayed with the watchman as his companions loaded the safe into their car.
Once he was alone with the watchman, Rega shot and killed Lauth. A pathologist’s report indicated Lauth was on his knees with his arms raised when he was shot four times, including the back and head.
Bryant, now 32, was sentenced to death twice in May 2010 in the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division of Philadelphia County.
Bryant pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Chante Wright and Octavia Green in the early morning of Jan. 19, 2008.
Wright had been a witness in an unrelated Philadelphia homicide that was scheduled to go to trial in May 2008. She had been living in Florida through the witness protection program, but left the program and returned to Philadelphia on January 18, 2008 to visit her ailing great-grandmother.
On the day she returned, Wright repeatedly contacted Bryant. Wright and a friend, Octavia Green, picked Bryant up in their rental car and drove around the city. Around 2 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2008, Bryant – who was sitting in the rear seat of the car – pulled out a gun and shot each woman three times, killing both. Bryant later told a friend he believed he was going to be paid for killing Wright for her role as a witness in the other homicide.