Letters to the editor

Reading about the commuted sentence by Gov. Tom Wolf of George Burkhardt for his part in the heinous 1979 crime committed against siblings Mary and Horace Swarr made me so angry.

“Each of these Pennsylvanians is fully deserving of the chance to return to their families and start a new life,” Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said of Wolf’s Feb. 11 commutations, which include Burkhardt.

Really? Burkhardt was about 42 when he committed the crime, more than old enough to take responsibility for his actions. This crime went unsolved for 10 years. From about age 42 to age 52, Burkhardt was free to live to his life knowing he had helped to take the lives of two innocents. The only reason he was caught was due to an informant giving police his name.

Nothing I read indicated any reason for mercy toward this individual. He took part in what I view as torturing the Swarrs. (They died of starvation, which is torture in my opinion.) He took his share of the stolen loot. He didn’t tip anyone off that they were bound and gagged in their home.

The Swarrs were fully deserving of living their lives in peace, but Burkhardt helped to take that from them.

I believe that all who took part in their killing should have served their full sentences. The Swarrs fully deserved that at least.

Elaine Leech


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