Convicted killer gets parole chance | News, Sports, Jobs

CLEARFIELD — A former area man convicted of first-degree murder after three separate trials was given an opportunity for parole Tuesday in Clearfield County Court.

Andrew Callahan, 40, was convicted in the murder of his Glendale High School classmate, Micah Pollock, in Pine Run, Beccaria Township, in 1997.

Senior Judge Richard Masson of Elk and Cameron counties resentenced Callahan Tuesday to 30 years to life in jail.

He previously faced a life sentence.

It was noted that Callahan has already served 24 years and five months for which he would be credited.

The sentence is still life, but now gives him a chance at parole, Masson said. Whether he gets out or not will depend on the parole board.

Later, District Attorney Ryan Sayers issued the following statement:

“I am disappointed in the decision by the court today to provide the defendant with an avenue to be released from jail.

“The reason life without parole exists is to protect the community from persons that commit heinous murders, like Callahan did in 1997 and as punishment for taking another person’s life. I feel for the family of Micah Pollock because justice was not served at this resentencing,” Sayers said.

Trials in 1998, 2007 and 2010 all had the same result, and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Testimony in the trials included information that Callahan, who was 17, had threatened to kill Pollock if he did not stay away from his ex-girlfriend.

The day after shooting Pollock in the back, Callahan returned to the spot in Beccaria Township where he had buried Pollock with pine branches.

He tried to stuff the body in a garbage can, but when it did not fit, he tied it to a vehicle and dragged it to a beaver pond where he dumped it.

A Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruling in June 2017 gave Callahan another appeal option.

That ruling determined that juveniles convicted of first-degree murder can only be given life without parole sentences in rare cases when “the juvenile offender is permanently incorrigible and thus is unable to be rehabilitated,” court documents stated.

In his post-conviction relief act petition, Callahan also asked for a new trial, which was denied.

A hearing was held in January with testimony from family members and experts to help Masson decide whether Callahan could be or has been rehabilitated.

On Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Trudy Lumadue reminded the judge that a key part of rehabilitation is the defendant admitting responsibility for the crime. Callahan has never done that, she said, because he has continued to stick to the story that the shooting was an accident.

“He never admitted to this,” she said, adding that because of this, there was a question mark about what he would do if released.

Defense attorney Andrew Subin stated after the previous hearing that there was no question that Callahan had already been rehabilitated.

Callahan asked to read from a lengthy prepared statement, in which he said, “I can’t live with this any longer.”

He said words couldn’t express his remorse.

“I caused a great injustice to Micah and his family.”

And then “I have no choice but to bear responsibility.”

He added he is not the same person he was when the crime occurred as he was using drugs and alcohol. He has been sober since he was incarcerated in 1997.

He apologized to Pollock’s family, his own family and the Irvona and Coalport communities.

He said as a young man he was put into the state prison system and didn’t fully adjust for a few years. A pastor he met along the way transformed him into a Christian and he began to think about others.

“I totally transformed my life,” he said.

He now wants to be of service to others. As he finished, an emotional Callahan appeared near tears.

“I deserve a chance as an adult,” he said.

Shubin commented that as an attorney he had advised Callahan all along not to admit to the shooting because of appellate issues.

“There is no question he rehabilitated himself.” Shubin said, noting, “he started way before he knew he would have a possibility to get out.”

“Kids’ brains change. He changed.”

Masson stated that he felt Callahan’s acceptance of responsibility for Pollock’s death was sincere.

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