POINT MARION, Pa. - A judge says a local man charged with fatally beating his girlfriend's 4-year-old son can face the death penalty if he's convicted of first-degree murder.
Twenty-eight-year olds Patrick Haney Jr. and Heather Forsythe, both of Point Marion, are jailed and awaiting trial in the Sept. 13, 2011 death of Forsythe's son, Trenton St. Clair.
Fayette County prosecutors allege Haney systematically beat the boy over several weeks and that Forsythe was charged because she allegedly knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it.
Haney has denied being responsible for any abuse.
Fayette County President Judge John Wagner denied a defense motion to bar the possible death penalty based on claim's that Haney never formed a specific intent to kill the boy.
Point Marion man could face death in toddler's killing
Woman falls to her death in Go Ape zip line accident
Father grabbed alligator's snout to pry boy from reptile's mouth, report says
Consultant: I conspired with attorney general to frame aide
Canonsburg teen who inspired so many loses battle with terminal cancer