Convicted killer wants to die at home; asks judge for compassionate release


CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Warriner Bass II was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of Esther Singer and her 19-year-old daughter Vickie.

Esther and Vickie’s nude bodies were found outside their mobile home in Newburg on May 3, 1974. According to court testimony, both women were shot and their genitalia was mutilated. Esther was raped and Vickie was found with an icepick protruding from her breast.

Bass pleaded guilty to the brutal murders on Sept. 5, 1975. Police said when Bass was arrested for the murders, he said, “I heard these voices in my head telling me to go there and do it.”

Bass, formerly of Newburg, is now 65 years old and dying in a Virginia prison. His counsel filed a petition with the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas, asking for deferment of his sentence due to terminal illness.

According to the April 24 petition, Bass has a form of terminal lung cancer and is likely to die within months. Bass is asking to be released to his brother’s house in Virginia where he would be provided in-home hospice care. His family would pay for house arrest monitoring.

The petition includes letters from family members asking the court for mercy, saying Bass is not a threat to society.

His 95-year-old mother Mildred Bass wrote, “at my age, it is very difficult for me to ride to the prison and go through all the steps to see Warriner. What I want more than anything is to be able to spend time with him.”

His brother Mark Bass said, “Warriner is a changed person from when he entered prison. At the time of his crime, he was a young man who was using drugs. I believe he was delusional.”

His sister Amy Bass Thorton told the judge: “By no means is anyone in our family suggesting that the sentence imposed on Warriner for his crime is unjust. He accepts responsibility for his sentence and has spent time in jail being productive in improving himself and even helping others.”

The family says Warriner has “grown in his Christian faith” and has helped other inmates acquire GEDs and would lead Bible studies.

Surviving family members and friends of the victims tell abc27 they will attend the hearing and ask the judge not to release Bass.

The hearing is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday before President Judge Edward Guido. Bass will appear via video conference. Chief Deputy District Attorney Courtney Hair-LaRue will prosecute.

Guido can make a ruling from the bench or take the matter under consideration.

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