A state-prison inmate who burglarized 28 homes – many of them owned by his former friends and neighbors – will get no relief from his 66-year prison sentence, a state appeals court ruled this week.
Stewart Michael Lazarus pleaded guilty in 2013 to the 2012 spree, which mainly targeted Millersville residents, and was sentenced to 33 to 66 years in prison.
In a recent request for relief from that sentence, Lazarus alleges his appeal lawyer abandoned him when he expressed desire to file an appeal.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in an opinion issued Tuesday that was not the case, and an appeal at this point is too late.
The state court explains that both Lazarus and the lawyer testified at a recent hearing.
The state court found:
- The lawyer was credible in explaining that Lazarus actually informed him in a 2016 correspondence he did not wish to pursue an appeal.
- Lazarus was not credible in his testimony in which he said he wanted an appeal.
- Lazarus’ reason for being late with the appeal – he couldn’t get to the law library for months – was not credible.
Lancaster County Judge Howard Knisely ordered the sentence and denied Lazarus’ initial request for relief.
Millersville’s mayor, who was a victim, called the 7-month spree one of the most horrific crimes in the area’s history.
Lazarus stole cash, jewelry, family heirlooms, guns, electronics - even young girls’ piggy banks.
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