Gov. Tom Corbett on Monday signed an execution warrant for Richard Baumhammers, who was convicted of killing five people and paralyzing a sixth, who later died, in a racially motivated rampage 14 years ago.
Baumhammers, 49, is scheduled to die by lethal injection Dec. 3.
He was found guilty of five counts of first-degree murder stemming from a two-hour rampage April 28, 2000, stretching from Mt. Lebanon to Beaver County.
Killed were his next-door neighbor in Mt. Lebanon, Anita Gordon, 63; Thao “Tony” Pham, 27, of Castle Shannon; Ji-Ye “Jerry” Sun, 34, of Churchill; Anil Thakur, 31, of India; and Garry Lee, 22, of Aliquippa. Sandip Patel, 32, of Ross died seven years later.
The warrant — the second signed for Baumhammers — may be moot, however. An execution scheduled for Sept. 22 had to be postponed because the state Department of Corrections is having trouble obtaining the drugs for a lethal injection.
“The law compels the governor to sign these warrants,” said Joshua Maus, a spokesman for the Office of General Counsel.
The governor has 90 days to issue a death warrant after his office receives the defendant’s full trial record, he said. That occurs when the state appeals process has been exhausted.
The state Supreme Court in May denied Baumhammers’ petition for post-conviction relief.
That leaves Baumhammers’ case to the federal courts, where he filed a notice of appeal in July.
According to Sue Bensinger, a spokeswoman for the DOC, the department is working to acquire the drugs needed for the execution.
“We are pursuing avenues to proceed with the execution,” she said. “We’re doing what we can. The process is taking a longer period of time than we anticipated.”
Mr. Corbett signed two other warrants Monday — for Michael Eric Ballard, convicted in Northampton County of four killings that occurred in 2010; and for Robert Anthony Flor, convicted in Bucks County of first-degree murder for shooting Newtown Borough police Officer Brian Gregg in 2005.