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Michael B. SINGLEY





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: November 3, 1998
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: 1977
Victims profile: Christine Rohrer, the wife of his cousin Travis Rohrer. and his cousin's neighbor, Jim Gilliam, who confronted him after the incident
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife / Shooting
Location: Franklin County, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on January 31, 2001

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania


opinion J-94-2004


The execution of Michael Singley, a Chambersburg man who murdered two people in November 1998, has been delayed following an order issued by a federal judge.

U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III was required to issue a stay of execution after Singley, 29, requested an attorney during a hearing in Williamsport. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell signed an execution warrant last month against Singley, scheduling his execution for 2006, April 6.

Singley pled guilty in August 2000, to first-degree murder and other charges in the stabbing death of Christine Rohrer, the wife of his cousin Travis Rohrer.

A month later, Franklin County Judge Douglas Herman found Singley guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of his cousin's neighbor, Jim Gilliam, who confronted him after the incident.

Singley raped Rohrer and bound her with duct tape in her home on election night in November 1998, after he told her he had car trouble and needed to use her phone. He stabbed her 20 times and then stabbed and shot her husband Travis Rohrer, when he came home. Travis Rohrer recovered from his wounds.

As he left his cousin's home, Singley fired two shots at Gilliam and his fiancee, Deb Hock. One shot killed Gilliam.

Singley was sentenced to death for Rohrer's murder and life in prison without parole for the murder of Gilliam. He also received up to 94 additional years in prison for attempted murder, rape, criminal trespass and theft.


Gov. Rendell signs execution warrant for double murderer

The Herald-Mail

February 17, 2006

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell earlier this week signed an execution warrant for Michael B. Singley, convicted in a 1998 double murder in Chambersburg, but it is unlikely he will die by lethal injection April 6.

"Based on Pennsylvania's track record, I don't think the odds are real great it will be carried out on that date," Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson said Wednesday.

Clinton Barkdoll, the attorney who represented Singley in his appeal to the state Supreme Court, also said it is unlikely the execution will be carried out any time soon.

A jury sentenced Singley, now 29, to death in January 2001 for the Nov. 3, 1998, stabbing death of Christine Rohrer, 23, the wife of his cousin, Travis Rohrer, at the couple's Elder Street home. He also was convicted of 1st-degree murder and sentenced to life for the shooting death of Rohrer's neighbor, 39-year-old James Gilliam.

Singley also was convicted of stabbing and shooting Travis Rohrer, who survived the attack, and for the attempted murder of Gilliam's companion, Deb Hock.

Singley pleaded guilty in 2000 to first-degree murder in Rohrer's death and to criminal homicide in the death of Gilliam. That was followed by a degree of guilt hearing before Franklin County Judge Douglas W. Herman, who found Singley guilty of 1st-degree murder in Gilliam's death, according to court records.

A penalty phase hearing for the killings was later held with a jury imposing the death penalty for Rohrer's murder after a week of testimony.

"It's hard to imagine an uglier scenario," Nelson said of the case. "There are mixed emotions about the death penalty ... If there's a case that would warrant it, this would be one."

Singley went to the Rohrers' home that night, bound Christine Rohrer with duct tape, then raped and stabbed her, according to Chambersburg police. When Travis Rohrer returned home later, Singley shot and stabbed his cousin.

As he was leaving the duplex, Gilliam and Hock arrived home and Singley shot Gilliam in the chest with a handgun, police said. He also fired at Hock, but missed, and she fell to the ground pretending to be dead, according to trial testimony.

In November 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari to hear Singley's case, Nelson said. The writ was based on an assertion that the victim impact statements by Christine Rohrer's husband and family had violated his rights of due process, he said.

Barkdoll said Singley's death penalty was affirmed by the Supreme Court about a year ago, but "Mike still has federal appeals that are pending and he hasn't begun to pursue PCRA (Pennsylvania's Post-Conviction Relief Act) relief, which would typically be the final step once all the appeals are exhausted."

Barkdoll said he expects a federal public defender to soon file for a stay of execution. The appeals process, he said, could go on for years.

Since receiving the death penalty, Singley has been incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution Greene in Waynesburg, Pa., Barkdoll said. Death row inmates are isolated from the general population and remain in their cells all but one hour a day for exercise periods, he said.

Since the state reinstituted the death penalty 3 decades ago,

Pennsylvania has carried out 3 executions, according to the Web site for the Death Penalty Information Center. The executions took place between 1995 and 1999, it stated.

Pennsylvania has 231 inmates on death row, according to center.

Albert Reid, convicted of the 1996 murders of his estranged wife and stepdaughter, is the only other person from Franklin County on death row, Nelson said.



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