Man admits to killing brother, 13, in 1998

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Nearly 20 years after a 13-year-old boy was stabbed to death in his New Freedom home, his brother has admitted in court to the murder.

Zachary Witman, now 34, pleaded guilty Thursday to third-degree murder in York County Court. He was sentenced to 15 to 40 years in prison and will be eligible for parole next year, on Jan. 3, 2019, according to court records.

Witman was 15 years old when he was arrested seven days after the October 1998 murder of his brother Gregory, and 20 years old when he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2003.

Witman and his parents had sought a new trial for years, arguing that investigators in the case had rushed to judgment.

He was offered the plea deal while awaiting a resentencing hearing as part of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision that deemed automatic life sentences against juveniles unconstitutional.

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