Convicted wife-killer Brian David Hummert's assertions that his murder conviction should be overturned have again failed to win him a new trial.
"(The) totality of the circumstantial evidence was more than sufficient to support the jury's verdict," according to an Oct. 9 state Superior Court memorandum that affirms his latest conviction.
Hummert, 57, formerly of Fairview Township, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for strangling his wife, 48-year-old Charlene Hummert, in their Boeing Road home in 2004. They were married for 22 years and had three children.
Hummert also must serve a consecutive six to 48 months in prison for hindering the police investigation into his wife's murder, although the sentencing judge acknowledged the extra time is "somewhat symbolic.
Lancaster-based defense attorney Vincent Quinn said he will now ask the state Supreme Court for an allowance to file an appeal. Quinn said he expects that will be done by the end of October.
'Avalanche' of proof: Chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker said he expects Hummert to take full advantage of the appeals process, and expects Hummert will never own up to the murder, despite "the avalanche of evidence."
"We see many, many individuals who basically go to the grave never admitting their wrongdoings," he said. "I expect him never to acknowledge what he did. And that's his prerogative. ... He'll cry foul, and it will continue on and on, and he has every right to do so."
But Barker said he's not concerned.
"We got the truth out, and the truth is what Charlene Hummert's family deserved," he said. "(Brian Hummert) can fight the truth all he wants to, but he can't run from it. When it's all said and done, this conviction is going to stand, and he will be spending the rest of his life in jail."
Twice before, Hummert's claims of prosecutorial misconduct won him new trials. But his allegations failed to impress presiding Common Pleas Senior Judge John C. Uhler a third time when he sentenced Hummert in July 2012.
Guilty three times: In May 2012, jurors took 45 minutes to find Hummert guilty of first-degree murder and hindering his own apprehension or prosecution. That's 15 minutes longer than a previous jury took to find him guilty of the same charges in 2006.
But the 2006 verdict was overturned, as was Hummert's original guilty plea to third-degree murder. In both cases, Uhler determined former prosecutor Chuck Patterson, now deceased, made errors that made it necessary for Hummert to receive new trials.
Fairview Township Police said after Hummert murdered his wife, he stuffed her body in her Land Rover, drove it to the Giant Food Store parking lot in Fairview Township and abandoned it.
The body of Charlene Hummert was found inside the vehicle on March 21, 2004.
'Serial killer': During the police investigation, Brian Hummert sent letters to police and a newspaper reporter. The letters claimed to be from a stalker and serial killer named "John" who took responsibility for the killing and stated Hummert was innocent.
The letters were the reason police charged Hummert with hindering his own apprehension, and the Superior Court noted the ruse supports Hummert's conviction.
"Appellant's attempt to blame his wife's murder on a fictional stalker that he created demonstrated his consciousness of guilt," according to the Superior Court's memorandum. "In light of this evidence, the jury was able to conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Appellant committed the crime of first-degree murder."
Issues raised: Hummert raised five issues in his appeal to the Superior Court, including that the evidence against him was insufficient for conviction, and that the jury was shown a purportedly prejudicial photograph of Charlene Hummert's hand, taken by police after her body was found.
Barker presented the photo to jurors to show that her watch had been placed on her wrist backward, "which supported the (prosecution's) theory that Appellant dressed the victim after he killed her," the Superior Court memo states.
The appeals court ruled the photo was not inflammatory.
-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com.