Execution Warrant Signed for Man Convicted in 2000 Cook Forest Murder

Joanne Bauer

Joanne Bauer

Published January 1, 1970 12:00 am

HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Yesterday Governor Tom Corbett signed an execution warrant for a man convicted of killing a night watchman during a robbery in Barnett Township, Jefferson County.

Robert Gene Rega, formerly of Punxsutawney, was convicted in Jefferson County Court of first-degree murder for the execution-style shooting of night watchman, 50-year-old Christopher Lauth, of Marienville, during a robbery on the evening of December 21, 2000.

Motivated by a lack of money to buy Christmas presents for his children, Rega recruited several friends to rob a local motel. Their plan was to hold the night watchman hostage and then force 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.

Rega, now 47, was sentenced to death in June of 2002 in Jefferson County Court.

His execution has been scheduled for January 28, 2014.

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.

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