Man convicted of killing pregnant girlfriend gets appeal rejected

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – A Manheim man jailed for life for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend will not get a new trial.

Matthew Scott Becker was found guilty in 2013 of first-degree murder and murder of an unborn child for shooting Allison Walsh, 21, in the head at his parents’ home.

Becker, now 27, was sentenced to life in prison, plus 20 to 40 years.

In his request for a new trial, Becker claimed his lawyers were ineffective in addition to the following improprieties:

  • He should have been called, by his lawyers, to testify at trial;
  • His lawyers should have raised additional challenges to the admissibility of Becker’s statements to police;
  • The trial judge should have given jurors specific instructions before they deliberated the case;
  • His lawyers should have objected to certain testimony offered by a police officer and the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy.

Judge James Cullen rejected Becker’s arguments based on the following:

  • Becker’s trial attorney testified that Becker’s temperament could have been viewed by the jury as “unattractive,” in that he could become angry when cross-examined.
    “His temper would come out,” the attorney testified at a recent proceeding.
  • Becker’s statements were obtained properly by police who advised him of his right to remain silent before each interview. Becker never asked to contact an attorney. His mother had an attorney go to the police station during an interview; however, Judge Cullen ruled, only Becker himself could express desire to have an attorney present.
  • Regarding jury instructions, Cullen called the trial judge’s failure to not read an instruction regarding Becker’s prior bad acts a “harmless error” that did not sway the verdict.

In Lancaster County Court, Assistant District Attorney Mark Fetterman also presented evidence that Becker previously threatened and verbally abused Walsh and that he shot an ex-girlfriend with a BB gun.

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