Mark Newton Spotz
Mark Newton Spotz (FILE)

For the sixth time, a Pennsylvania governor has signed an execution warrant to put Mark Newton Spotz, the man behind a four-county killing rampage, to death.

Gov. Tom Corbett Friday signed the most recent warrant for the 1995 murder of a York County woman.

Spotz, now 41, was convicted in York County court in 1996 of kidnapping, robbing and brutally murdering Penny Gunnet, 41, of New Salem during a cross-state killing spree that spanned 48 hours between late January and early February 1995.

He was tried separately and convicted in three different Pennsylvania counties for killing his brother and two other women. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for each woman he killed.

For his brother's death, Spotz was sentenced to 17 ½ to 35 years in prison.

Execution date: Spotz is scheduled to be executed on Jan. 8, 2013, for killing Gunnet, according to a prison official.

However, if Spotz receives a stay of execution, he will not be put to death at that time, said Janet Kelley, spokeswoman for the governor's office.

Spotz has a petition before the U.S. Middle District Court of Pennsylvania to file a habeas corpus review before a federal court. That would set the case back to a York County court.

York County District Attorney Tom Kearney said that because of court proceedings, it's doubtful that Spotz will be put to death next year. Courts have previously issued stays of execution for five warrants to put Spotz to death.

Spotz's most recent warrant was the 21st signed by Corbett, Kelley said.

Executions in Pennsylvania are carried out by lethal injection.

Spotz is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Greene.

Warrants: Five other warrants to execute Spotz have been signed by governors. Former Gov. Tom Ridge signed the first in 1998 for the murder of June Ohlinger in Schuylkill County.

In 2002, then-Gov. Mark Schweiker signed an execution warrant for the murder of 71-year-old Betty Amstutz in Cumberland County.

A warrant to execute Spotz for the Gunnet killing was previously signed by Ridge in 2001, but a stay was issued.

While he doesn't believe Spotz will be put to death in January, Kearney said he wants to see justice carried out.

"We can't continue to delay the will of the people," he said. "I think the public in general is getting fed up with community's wishes not being carried out."

- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.