Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a man charged with killing his sister and niece in a Lancaster city apartment in July, according to the county district attorney’s office.
James Sterbinsky, 56, is accused of fatally stabbing his sister Christine Ross, 53, and niece Autumn Ross, 20, on July 18. He was charged with two counts of homicide and one count of attempted homicide. Police said he also stabbed his 33-year-old nephew.
Prosecutors filed the notice of intent on Wednesday, citing "aggravating factors" that include multiple homicide victims; presenting a grave risk of danger to others; and the killing of his sister, who was a potential witness in a separate case against Sterbinsky.
East Lampeter Township police began investigating Sterbinsky in March 2019, after a 14-year-old girl reported he had assaulted her, according to charging documents and officials.
The teen girl reported she had been assaulted by Sterbinsky in January and she said he was high on methamphetamine when the offense happened, according to charging documents.
Sterbinsky is currently in Lancaster County Prison without bail.
Gov. Tom Wolf imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in Pennsylvania in 2015.