Damien Ditz Could Face Up to 40 Years in Prison When Sentenced on Wednesday
(Photo by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media.www.propointmedia.com)
That is what Clarion County District Attorney Mark Aaron said after Ditz was found guilty of third-degree murder following a week-long trial that ended on December 7, 2018.
“The maximum he could face is 20 to 40 years,” Aaron said at the conclusion of the trial. “There are sentencing guidelines that apply. 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.”
Clarion County Judge James Arner will hand down the sentence at a hearing scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 23, at the Clarion County Courthouse.
Ditz was found guilty by a jury of seven women and five men for the killing of Seaburn on March 1, 2017, in the vicinity of a trailer park in Lake Lucy, Washington Township, Clarion County.
According to testimony during the trial, Ditz and Seaburn were arguing over money when she was shot. Seaburn was a 22-year old Clarion University student from Curwensville, Pa., at the time of her death.
Over a four-month period, Ditz gave state police three different versions of what happened, including two versions on the night of the shooting.
He first said the gun that killed Seaburn, a 45-caliber Glock, had fallen off the dashboard of Seaburn’s car, which he was driving, hit the console and gone off killing Seaburn. Later the same night, he changed his story and said the gun fell off the dashboard, he grabbed the gun, and then it went off killing Seaburn.
But, in June of 2017, during questioning at the Ridgway State Police barracks, Ditz again changed his story and said the gun fell off the dashboard, he placed it next to the console, and then during an argument over $130,00, he picked up the gun to place it in the backseat and was waving it in the air, and it went off killing Seaburn.
In addition to the third-degree murder conviction, Ditz was also found guilty on 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.” He was found not guilty of first-degree murder.
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