Coal Township man charged with mother’s homicide appears in court

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COAL TOWNSHIP, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Coal Township man charged with killing his mother last month appeared in a Northumberland County courtroom Tuesday.

39-year-old Christopher Depka appeared in court for a preliminary hearing. Depka decided to waive his right for the hearing.

“The next step would be a formal arraignment and in a homicide case, the district attorney, myself, would have to determine whether we’re going to seek the death penalty,” Northumberland County district attorney Tony Matulewicz said.

Governor Tom Wolf issued a moratorium for the death penalty in February of 2015, but Matulewicz says it’s still a possibility on the table.

“The death penalty is still there, it’s still in Pennsylvania, but it hasn’t been executed in a very, very long time. So that’s obviously a consideration,” Matulewicz said.

Depka is charged with beating his mother, Sarah Jones, to death with a baseball bat. During the arrest, Depka was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. The incident took place in November at the home they shared on the 1300 block of West Holly Street in Coal Township.

The formal arraignment is set for January 24th and the status conference will be on February 28th.

“Between the 24th, January 24th and the February date he would have 30 days to file a motions,” Matulewicz said.

Currently, Depka is being held at Northumberland County Jail until his next court appearance in January of next year.

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