Courtney Murder Case Plea Hearing Tuesday


A plea hearing will be held on Tuesday for a local man accused of murdering an Emporium woman in her apartment last October.
Michael Fuller Courtney, age 35, whose current address is listed in Smethport, faces charges of first-degree murder, third-degree murder and aggravated assault stemming from the murder of Deborah Gerlach, age 45. Gerlach was killed in her apartment on South Wood Street in the Emporium Borough on the evening of October 26.
Courtney is scheduled to appear for a plea hearing in front of Judge Richard Masson at 1 p.m. on Tuesday as part of Return Day proceedings scheduled monthly for cases involving Cameron County defendants.
Available online court documents indicate a protracted back-and-forth of sealed entries between Masson and Courtney’s attorney, Fred D. Hummel, Jr., of Punxsutawney, serving through the public defender’s office. Five sealed entries were sent to Masson, followed by the filing of an omnibus pre-trial motion and a notice of insanity or infirmity defense by Hummel. A status conference was held in mid-July; the plea hearing was scheduled shortly thereafter.


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