Judge: Mt. Lebanon man who killed jogger not 'ready to go home'

A Mt. Lebanon man incarcerated for involuntary manslaughter for killing a woman as she jogged with her children two years ago will not be getting out of jail.

A defense attorney for Benjamin Cope, 22, filed a petition for parole with Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani on Dec. 4 asking that her client be released at his minimum sentence -- which was one year minus one day of incarceration.

He would meet that minimum on Saturday.

Mr. Cope, who struck Lisa Clay Styles on June 28, 2010, as she ran along Washington Road with her two children in a jogging stroller, made a tearful apology to her husband and family.

"I'm just devastated by everything that's happened since the accident occurred," he said. "I'm sorry this is your life. I'll never be able to explain the pain I caused you."

But Judge Mariani, who chastised the young man for failing to be completely truthful in an interview with a probation officer for his presentence report, said it was not time for his release.

"If Mr. Cope doesn't make it home for Christmas, so be it," the judge said. "If Mr. Cope has to go on and keep eating bologna sandwiches in the jail, so be it. Mr. Styles feels like you just don't get it, and because of that, I'm not satisfied that you're ready to go home."

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Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620. First Published December 14, 2012 5:30 AM


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