Three Convicts Sentenced In Murder of Pennsylvanian College Football Player


Three men were sentenced to prison Monday in the 2012 robbery and murder of Washington and Jefferson College football player.

Pittsburgh's Eric Wells, 25, was sentenced to 10-25 years for murder and 3-6 years for robbery; East Pittsburgh's Troy Simmons, 23, was sentenced to 5-12 years for murder and 2-8 years for robbery; and Washington's Adam Hankins, 24, was sentenced to 6-15 years for murder and 3-6 years for robbery in the death of 21-year-old Timothy McNerney.

Wells, Simmons and Hankins pleaded guilty in May to robbery and a general count of homicide of the western Pennsylvania college student who died during a mugging. But, the judge convicted them of a third-degree murder. Besides jail term, the convicts were handed over five year's probation.

"(I) wouldn't say (we are) satisfied, but at least this is one last step on the road we have to go through. It's been very stressful roller coaster ride," said the victim's father, Robert McNerney, wtae reports.

"You know, we are always supposed to forgive, but how can you forgive someone who kills your child?" said the victim's mother, Denise McNerney.

Police said McNerney of Butler was returning to campus from a bar when he and his friend (Zach DeCicco of Jefferson Hills) were attacked in the early hours of October 4, 2012.

McNerney died after Wells punched and pushed him on to the ground, hitting his head. Police said that DeCicco somehow escaped from the scene and called campus security workers to report the incident.

A short time later, McNerney was found unresponsive, and was pronounced dead at the Washington Hospital citing the reason for the death to the blunt force trauma to the back of his head.

Attorneys for the offenders said that their clients did not intend to kill McNerney, a graduate of Knoch High School in Butler County.

John Puskar, a court-appointed attorney representing Simmons, felt that his client received a fair sentence. But no amount of punishment can compensate the loss experienced by his family. Attorney Dennis Popojas, representing Hankins, expected a more lenient sentence for his client, similar to that of the Simmons. But the judge awarded a harsher sentence based on his prior criminal records.

"I offer my heartfelt apologies to Tim's parents and family for the anger and sorrow that I caused them," Hankins said during the proceedings. "There are no words to convey the remorse I feel. I cannot imagine how horrifying this ordeal has been for you and I want you to know that I have never intended to cause any harm to you or your family," Post-Gazette reports.

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