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Man gets life plus 5 1/2 to 26 years in informant slaying

August 18, 2020 GMT

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole plus 5½ to 26 years in the slaying of a confidential informant in a drug case in northeastern Pennsylvania two years ago.

Cornelius Mapson, 34, extended his sympathies but not an apology to the loved ones of 24-year-old Nina Gatto before sentencing Monday, saying he was innocent.

“My heart goes out to the family,” Mapson said, according to The (Scranton) Times-Tribune. “But I will always maintain my innocence.”

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Mapson was convicted of first-and third-degree murder and conspiracy in a non-jury trial in Lackawanna County in Scranton in April 2018. Two other defendants are awaiting sentencing.

Judge James Gibbons said the defendant appeared intelligent and had had “a great deal of potential.” Defense attorney Bernard Brown, who opted for a bench trial to spare his client a possible death penalty, said Mapson grew up under difficult circumstances, but “it’s not an excuse.”

Authorities alleged that Mapson and two other people tried to kill the victim by other means over several days, including providing her heroin laced with battery acid and fentanyl, before Mapson suffocated her. Mapson blamed the death on one of his companions.

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