Prosecutors to seek death sentence against man charged with killing sister, niece


LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Prosecutors have filed a notice of intent to seek death sentences against a man charged with killing his sister and niece in a Lancaster home.

James Sterbinsky, 56, is charged with two counts of criminal homicide in the stabbing deaths of his sister, 53-year-old Christine Ross, and his niece, 20-year-old Autumn Ross. He is also charged with attempted homicide in the stabbing his nephew July 18 at a High Street home.

Sterbinsky waived a preliminary hearing on all charges on Aug. 30.

Prosecutors filed the notice of intent Wednesday, asking that three aggravating factors be considered by a jury at trial. The notice states that there were multiple homicide victims and that Sterbinsky presented a grave risk of danger to others, his nephew and two children in the home.

His nephew identifed Sterbinsky as the attacker. The children safely escaped to a neighbor’s house.

A third aggravating factor was filed regarding the 53-year-old female victim, who was a potential witness in a separate pending case against Sterbinsky, the district attorney’s office said.

East Lampeter Township police have charged Sterbinsky with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person less than 16 years old, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, and indecent assault, according to court records.

Sterbinsky is at Lancaster County Prison without bail. A formal arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 27.

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