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Damien Ditz to be Sentenced This Month for Murder of Girlfriend
(Photo by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography)
Damien Ditz, 23, is scheduled to be sentenced by Clarion County President Judge James G. Arner.at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 23, 2019, at the Clarion County Courthouse,
He was found guilty of third-degree murder in the March 1, 2017 death of his girlfriend Katrina Seaburn.
The verdict was handed down by a jury of seven women and five men at the Clarion County Courthouse on Friday, December 7, 2018, after nearly three hours and 45 minutes of deliberations.
The jury found Ditz not guilty on first-degree murder, and because they found him guilty on the third-degree murder charges, they didn’t return verdicts on voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Ditz shot Seaburn, of Curwensville, Pa., a 22-year old Clarion University student at the time of her death, in her car, which he was driving, near a trailer park in Lake Lucy, Washington Township, Clarion County, Pa.
The two, according to statements given to state police by Ditz, were having an argument over $130.00 Ditz lent a friend, DaShon Smerker, who he considered a cousin.
Ditz defense attorney, Adam Bishop, painted the shooting as accidental and pushed for an involuntary manslaughter charge, while Clarion County District Attorney, Mark Aaron, was looking for a first-degree murder conviction.
Ditz was also found guilty of two counts of Aggravated Assault, two counts of Simple Assault, and a count of Recklessly Endangering another person. One of the Aggravated Assault and one of the Simple Assault convictions came with “use of a deadly weapon.”
According to Aaron, the maximum Ditz could face is 20 to 40 years in state prison on the third-degree murder conviction.
“There are sentencing guidelines that apply,” Aaron told exploreClarion.com in a previous interview. “The judge would have broad discretion on a murder three conviction. The standard guidelines for the low-end of the range are anywhere from five and 20 years. The sentence is always up to the judge.”
Ditz is being held in the Clarion County Jail.
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