Herbert Blakeney was sentenced to death by the State of Pennsylvania for the murder of his fourteen month old son. According to court documents Herbert Blakeney would stab his estranged wife before slitting the throat of his fourteen month old son. Herbert Blakeney would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Herbert Blakeney 2022 Information
Parole Number: 8907W
Date of Birth: 04/24/1966
Height: 6′ 01″
Current Location: PHOENIX
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A deadlock on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has thwarted the latest attempt by a Harrisburg man to get off death row for the murder of his 14-month-old son.
That deadlock was announced Friday by an evenly-split panel of the high court that had weighed the most recent appeal by 52-year-old Herbert Blakeney.
In that appeal, Blakeney tried to use the email scandal that prompted the resignation of former Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin as a lever to overturn a Dauphin County judge’s decision to dismiss his most recent attempt to void his first-degree murder conviction and death sentence for the February 2000 murder of his son Basil.
Police said Blakeney stabbed his estranged wife, then cut his son’s throat with a butcher knife as a city police officer yelled at him to release the child. Blakeney only released the boy’s body when the officer shot him.
The issue that deadlocked the Supreme Court was whether to accept Blakeney’s argument that “new evidence” in the form of the Eakin email scandal should override county Judge John F. Cherry’s finding that Blakeney’s latest appeal was untimely filed. The Supreme Court’s deadlock on the matter means Cherry’s denial stands.
As Justice David N. Wecht noted in an opinion on the case, Blakeney, who is black and a Muslim, argued on appeal that emails found in Eakin’s possession that were deemed racist undermined Eakin’s ability to fairly weigh Blakeney’s earlier appeals of his murder conviction. Eakin did participate with the rest of the court in a 2008 denial of a Blakeney appeal.
Blakeney based his latest appeal on what he claimed was newly-discovered evidence provided by an October 2015 story in the Philadelphia Inquirer. That media outlet and others reported on the existence of the Eakin emails. An investigation ensued and Eakin resigned in March 2016.
Since he couldn’t have known about the Eakin emails, or any prejudice they might have caused to his case, before October 2015, his latest appeal should have been accepted by Cherry, Blakeney argued.
He contended as well that the county district attorney’s office should have been disqualified from involvement in his appeals because former DA Ed Marsico and current DA Fran Chardo received some of the same emails as Eakin. Marsico and Chardo provided sworn affidavits stating they neither responded to nor forwarded those emails, Wecht noted.
The Supreme Court tied 2-2 on Blakeney’s arguments.
Wecht and Justice Christine L. Donohue concluded Blakeney’s latest appeal was not untimely filed and should be reconsidered because of the newly discovered evidence of the Eakin emails. Justices Kevin M. Dougherty and Sallie Updyke Mundy disagreed
Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor and Justices Max Baer and Debra Todd, who were on the high court when the Eakin email scandal arose, did not participate in the consideration of the Blakeney appeal.