2018-02-10 / Front Page

Clemency request in double-fatal DUI

An Austin man responsible for the deaths of two young children is trying to persuade the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons to reduce his sentence.

Jerry Springer, 48, has asked Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack to commute his sentence, allowing him to apply for early release. Currently, his earliest possible parole date is Oct. 25, 2030. On the afternoon of July 11, 1999, a vehicle driven by Springer struck eight-year-old Clifford Scheck and his 10-year-old sister Savanna as they walked in a ditch along Rt. 872 in Wharton Township.

The car swerved off the roadway, flipped over and landed in the ditch, killing both children instantly. A cousin of the victims who was walking with them escaped physical harm. Springer, who was convicted on two counts of second-degree murder, received a sentence of 31 to 62 years. His blood-alcohol level was reported at .29 percent, close to three times the .10-percent legal limit (at the time of the incident). He’s serving his time at Rockview State Prison in Centre County.

Potter County District Attorney Andy Watson told Endeavor News that after taking into account the wishes of the victims’ family and other factors, he opposes Springer’s release.

“The Board of Pardons could simply deny the petition, or it may schedule a hearing to consider its merits, but my office and the family will have input,” Watson said. “I have written a strongly worded letter recommending against clemency.”

The children’s mother, Donna Marie Scheck, said in a social media posting that she’s upset that Springer has never apologized, nor has he responded to a letter she sent to him two years ago.

“When he was asked if he had anything to say at his sentencing, his response was no -- not even an attempt to apologize for taking the lives of two children and forever changing our lives,” she wrote. “I would like to forget all about him, but he will forever be a part of our lives because of his actions that day.”

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