Ex-inmates call for moratorium By MARTHA RAFFAELE Associated Press Writer HARRISBURG — Two former death-row inmates who were freed from prison after they were both cleared of murder charges sought a meeting with Gov. Mark S. Schweiker Wednesday to persuade him to impose an immediate moratorium on executions. Ray Krone and William Nieves came to the Capitol along with representatives of several groups opposed to the death penalty, hoping to make their request to the governor in person. Both men spoke at a news conference that marked the conclusion of a two-week tour of speaking engagements in communities across the state before meeting with a Schweiker aide. Krone, 45, spent more than 10 years in an Arizona prison after he was convicted of fatally stabbing a bartender, but was released after a DNA test sought by his lawyers last year cleared him of any wrongdoing. The former Dover Township, York County, postal worker returned to his hometown after he was freed from prison in May. Before his imprisonment, he had supported the STATE Thursday, October 24, 2002 — Page 3 Two former death-row inmates talked with state Sen. Alan Kukovich, D-Westmoreland, right, before the start of a rally urging state legislators to abolish the state's death penalty. (AP photo) death penalty. "Now, because of my experience, 1 could never support the death penalty," Krone said. "I've experienced the death penally from the wrong side of the law. It was a frightening experience. ... I don't wish it on anybody." Nieves, 36, was on death row for 5'/2 years after he was convicted of a drug-related 1992 murder. On Oct. 20,2000, Nieves was acquitted by a Philadelphia jury in a new trial ordered by the state Supreme Court, which found that he had inadequate representation during his first trial in 1994. "Gov. Schweiker, however our meeting ends up, whether you talk to us or not, remember, you're going to be remembered when you leave (office) if the death penalty is still law in Pennsylvania," Nieves said during the news conference. "You're going to be remembered by thousands of people... as either a coward or a person who had the courage to say the death penalty is wrong." Former miner denies illegal mining charge CORKEPP0M Incorrect Hours were given for Lentz Kitchen & Bath in the "Business Indiana 1 ' tab. Correct Hours Appear Below SOMERSET (AP) — A man who worked the Saxman Mine, from which millions of gallons of water gushed to trap nine miners last summer, denied that there was any effort to remove coal beyond what was allowed in the last days of operations four decades ago. Retired miner Albert W. Barnett, 82, of Somerset, took issue with the charge by another miner in testimony Wednesday at the final hearing scheduled by Gov. Schwciker's Special Commission on Abandoned Mine Voids and Mine Safety. Immediately after the flooding of the Quecreek Mine in July, former miner Joseph Jashienski, who also worked the Saxman Mine, said operators had illegally removed a large swath of coal in the shape of a "baseball-diamond." Barnett, however, said that was a bunch of "bunlf." In the early 1960s When the mine closed, miners at Saxman did not have the equipment to accomplish such a feat, he said. "That was the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of," Barnett said. "That just didn't happen." On July 24, millions of gallons of water poured into the Quecreek Mine from the adjacent Saxman Mine when workers breached a barrier between the two. Nine miners were trapped for more than three days as rescuers tried frantically to bring them to the surface. All were lifted to safety after 77, hours underground. Inaccurate mapping of abandoned mines has been blamed as the reason miners drilled into the abandoned Saxman Mine, which maps showed to be some 300 feet away from them. Also testifying during the hearing Wednesday was Peter Saxman, whose father, Edwin, owned the mine when it closed. "You merely had to know my father to know that he was not capable of running an illegal business," Saxman said. Saxman acknowledged that he "knew little to nothing" about the workings of his father's mine. He said, however, that unsubstantiated rumors about illegal mining have sullied the reputation of his father and workers in the Saxman Mine. "The family members of those men have been dishonored," he said. George FJlis, president of the Pennsylvania Coal Association, said it is essential that access to Ihe most current maps be improved. 556 Water St., Indiana (724)465-9611 Showroom Hrsr Thur8-B; Uon.Tue, Wed, Fri 8-5; Sal 9-1 Internet LocalNel's Unlimited Interne! access PER MONTH! 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A graduate of the- Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, Dr. Brumbaugh offers restorative and cosmetifr,dentistry that "can t ^ £ improve your l)itre,;an'd .enhance your smile, maMng you feel better;^fid loolc ^Qriderful. , f Don't you deserve to be your best? 'Call Dr, Brumbapgh today foryowr complitnentary sniil^ consultation, 724-34^2$7]l < ,^ Street, Indiana*j 724-349-2371' Small donations form basis for gubernatorial candidates By PETER JACKSON Associated Press Writer HAKRISBURG — Ronald G. Tyler Sr. has a "Mike Fisher for Governor" sign in his from yard and another on his car window. lie is on Fisher's veterans' advisory committee. Even if Fisher loses the Nov. 5 election, Tyler won't regret the $110 he has contributed to the Republican's campaign. "It's going to be darn close," predicted Tyler, 73, a retired federal employee from Camp Hill, "livery race lias to have a loser. If he happens to be the unfoiinnate one, I'm happy that he had an opportunity to try, at least, and that 1 had an opportunity" to help. In Mercer in western Pennsylvania, Raymond II. Bogaty gave Democratic candidate Edward G. Rendell $70 for the primary and $300 more for the general election — small sums compared to the six-digit outlays by political-action committees and wealthy individuals that have pushed spending in the gubernatorial race to record levels. "The amount isn't always that important. It's a matter of gelling people on board," Bogaty, 54, who serves as Mercer County's public defender. said Tuesday. He called his contributions "just as important to me as the big money is to those people." Of the nearly 22,000 contributions that former Philadelphia Mayor Hendell and state Attorney General Fisher have received in the past two years, more than 60 percent were from people giving $500 or less. Many came from fund-raisers with low admission fees, while others were unsolicited. Based on random interviews with several donors on both sides, these contributors, like Tyler and Bogaty, feel strongly about one candidate or ihe oilier and understand that it lakes money to grease the wheels of democracy. "Whether we like it or not, that's the way the system works," said Kenneth II. Fraelich Jr., 65, a retired Pittsburgh executive who lives in Monroeville and said he has contributed about $200 to i-'isher's campaign. Of Rendell's nearly 14,000 donations, which include multiple payments by some donors, 8,638 were for amounts of $500 or less. About 2,700 people gave $100 or less. The small donations added up to $2.3 million of the $28.2 million he had raised through mid-September, according to campaign-finance re- ports. Fisher, who unlike Rendell was unopposed in the primary, raised a total of $10.9 million. That included 5,254 contributions of $500 or less — $1.3 million — out of nearly 8,000 total contributions. The average donation to each campaign were much larger — about $1,780 for Rendell and $1,370 for Fisher. Among Rendell's contributions, 4,984 were of $1,000 or more; 581 of $10,000 or more; 200 of $25.000 or more; and 16 of at least $100,000. Fisher received 2,528 contributions of $1,000 or more; 259 of $10,000 or more; 51 of $25,000 or more; and five of $100,000 or more. While news coverage tends to focus on the largest contributors, campaign staffers say they recognize the importance of those in the low- dollar group. "Not only are they donors, they're our grass-roots activists as well," said Kent Gates, Fisher's campaign manager. "They're the heart and sou! of the campaign, quite frankly." "One of the great things about American politics is that everyone feels that they can participate, and they participate however they can," said Rendell's campaign spokesman, Dan Fee. 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