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Man convicted in informant murder, faces life without parole

June 9, 2020 GMT

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A man has been convicted of first- and third-degree murder in the slaying of a confidential informant in a drug case in northeastern Pennsylvania two years ago.

Cornelius Mapson, 34, was also convicted in a non-jury trial in Lackawanna County on Tuesday of conspiracy in the April 2018 death of 24-year-old Nina Gatto in Scranton.

The Jenkins Township resident showed no reaction as the judge announced the conviction, which carries a mandatory term of life in prison without possibility of parole, The (Scranton) Times-Tribune reported. Mapson was also convicted of drug and evidence-tampering charges.

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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 maintained his innocence at trial and pinned the death on one of his companions.

Prosecutors initially sought the death penalty but withdrew the request after the defendant waived his right to a jury trial. Defense attorney Bernard Brown said he was relieved that his client was spared the death penalty. “One of the reasons we took the bench trial is it saved Mr. Mapson’s life,” Brown said.

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