The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, March 10, 2005  

Incredibly, Unbearably, Disgustingly Guilty

Guilty as sin, and truly personifying sin: Philadelphia teenagers Domenic Coia, 19, Nicholas Coia, 18, and Edward Batzig Jr., 18, all three found guilty by a jury yesterday of first-degree murder, joining Justina Morley, 17, who earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree murder.

The convictions and plea relate to the incomprehensibly brutal death last year of Jason Sweeney, then 16, of the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia.

The convicted killers' motive: $500, representing Sweeney's first-ever payday from working with his father, Paul Sweeney, as a carpenter.

The immediate aftermath of their sick spree: After killing Sweeney, the four teenagers, Batzig, Coia, Coia, and Morley, in their own words, shared a "group hug" and "partied beyond redemption," and, according to prosecutor Jude Conroy, as quoted in the Philadelphia Daily News, "They split up [Sweeney]'s $500 salary among them, buying items ranging from heroin to deodorant."

Because, well, I don't know, using heroin causes body odor?

Read more in today's Philadelphia Inquirer: "Three Teenagers Convicted in Fishtown Murder," by Jacqueline Soteropoulos. And from today's Philadelphia Daily News: "Three Guilty of Killing Jason Sweeney," by Theresa Conroy and George Miller.

If you're not familiar with this horrific case, you may read recent reports from the Inquirer and the Daily News by accessing the papers' recent articles here.

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