Pennsylvania

Teen beaten and killed by longtime friend, other teens for his paycheck

May 30, 2003
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jason Sweeney (16) is beaten to death by 4 teenagers who wanted his paycheck

Sweeney was led to a remote area by a girl he recently started dating, Justina Morley (15). There, brothers Nicholas (16) and Domenic (17) Coia and Edward Batzig, Jr. (16) ambushed Sweeney, beating him with a hammer, hatchet, and rocks. During trial, Batzig testified Sweeney looked at Batzig — who was Sweeney’s best friend since grade school — and pleaded for his life. By the time the beating was over, the only bone in Sweeney’s face that wasn’t damaged was his left cheekbone. The group of teens then stole the $500 cash Sweeney had made at his construction job, shared a group hug, and split the money to buy drugs (marijuana, heroin, and Xanax) and jewelry, and “partied beyond redemption” according to Domenic.

During trial, Morley pleaded guilty and testified against her co-defendants in exchange for a reduced sentence. She was sentenced to 17.5 to 35 years in prison. The other murderers received life sentences without parole for first-degree murder plus 22.5 to 45 years for conspiracy, robbery, and possession of an instrument of a crime.

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