A Pennsylvania teenager will be tried as an adult on charges that he helped fatally beat his friend's brother because his friend thought his sibling was gay. Robert M. Laskowski, 15, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is found guilty of first-degree murder in the April death of Adam Bishop, 18, of Hempfield Township, Pa. If Laskowski were found guilty in a juvenile court, he could have been held in the state's custody until his 21st birthday.
Laskowski helped when Ian Bishop, 15, hit his older brother at least 15 times with a hammer and left him to die in a bathtub in the Bishop family's home, police and prosecutors said. County judge Debra Pezza issued a ruling Thursday that said although it appears that Laskowski never hit Adam Bishop, he helped Ian Bishop move the body and didn't aid the dying teenager. The prospect that Laskowski could be freed within six years also led Pezza to issue the ruling, she wrote. Laskowski's attorney, Lee Demosky, said he would appeal the ruling. He had argued that his client's case belonged in juvenile court because, among other things, Laskowski did not have a prior criminal record. Ian Bishop also will be tried as an adult.