LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — A man from Christiana, Lancaster County who was convicted of the 2016 murder of 26-year-old Julius Dale III had his post-conviction (PCRA) petition denial affirmed by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

Thirty-seven-year-old Lucas Newnam was found guilty of the murder back in August of 2017 and was then sentenced to life imprisonment a few days later.

Newnum attempted to get a retrial back in 2019 when he argued that prison visit conversations with his mother shouldn’t have been allowed at his trial and that his statement to police should not have been presented to the jury, among other claims.

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Newman’s most recent appeal was back in 2021, which was denied by Lancaster County Judge Donald Totaro. A memorandum filed by Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Deborah Kunselman found that Newnam’s recent claims lacked merit.

Newnam argued he was prejudiced because the Commonwealth was able to portray that two witnesses during the trial were not credible because their accounts were recently fabricated. The PCRA court found that the Commonwealth did not challenge the witnesses’ credibility on the foundation that their stories were recently fabricated, but questioned the witnesses on why they did not tell the information to law enforcement prior to trial.

Also in the memorandum that Judge Kunselman filed, it was noted that the witnesses gave their statements to a private investigator hired by Newnam himself six months after the shooting, giving them the opportunity to orient their accounts with Newnam’s self-defense claim.

  • The PCRA court summarized the testimony of the six Commonwealth witnesses who were:
  • At the residence the day of the murder,
  • Newnam’s interview with police after his arrest, the evidence presented by the defense,
  • Newnam’s testimony
  • The testimony of the five defense witnesses was called to corroborate Newnam’s claim of self-defense.

First Deputy District Attorney Travis Anderson won the life sentence conviction at trial and is representing the Commonwealth in post-conviction litigation.

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