Cassandra Worry told the man who killed her brother, William Worry III, that she would forgive him for fatally shooting him inside a Monongahela Township mobile home in 2019.
“Anthony King, I forgive you,” Worry told him during his sentencing hearing Monday morning in Greene County Court. “I strongly believe God will do what’s right and give you the punishment you deserve.”
But later during the hearing when King spoke briefly to “genuinely apologize” for the killing, Worry’s family appeared unmoved by his words.
“I’m not asking for forgiveness,” King said in a hushed, monotone voice. “I’m asking that you understand what happened that night.”
Worry’s father, Bill, interrupted and ordered King to look directly at their family as he spoke.
“I’m over here,” Bill Worry said before he abruptly got up and left the courtroom.
King, 24, was convicted by a Greene County jury in May of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and two counts of reckless endangerment in the Feb. 14, 2019, shooting death of Worry inside King’s Alicia Main Street residence. The jury acquitted him on first- and third-degree murder charges in the case.
Following a three-hour hearing Monday, President Judge Lou Dayich sentenced King to serve 6 to 12 years in state prison. Since King has been held without bond since the killing more than three years ago, he could be eligible for parole by early 2025.
Worry III, 23, of Smithfield, Fayette County, died at the scene after King shot him in the face with a 12-gauge shotgun. Worry had been helping his ex-girlfriend move children’s toys out of King’s home when he was shot.
“He destroyed our lives,” Bill Worry said of King during victim impact statements. “It’ll never be back to the way it was before.”
Worry’s relatives spent nearly two hours speaking about how his death affected them as they referred to him by his nickname “Spank.”
“My world came crashing down in an instant and my heart shattered to pieces,” said his mother, Susan Worry. “Spank wasn’t perfect, we all have our faults, but he was perfect to me.”
Worry’s fiancée, Sierra Huff, told the court that when his family gathered together upon hearing news of his death, she learned that he intended to propose to her on Valentine’s Day. Worry’s parents brought out a ring box and gave it to her hours after his death, which she wore in the courtroom.
“You not only took away his future, but you took away mine, as well,” Huff said.
She said their 5-year-old son, Liam, doesn’t understand why his father is gone and is still traumatized.
“He’s angry. He’s bitter. He tells me he can’t wait to go to heaven to visit daddy,” she said.
There were also numerous supporters of King sitting in the packed courtroom, including a few who testified on his behalf. Several of them said King was a good person who came from a broken home growing up and was trying to make a better life for himself. Kim Barton, who considered herself King’s surrogate mother in his later years, said he expressed remorse after the killing.
“He wished it’d never happened,” Barton said, recounting a conversation she had with King a couple of months after the shooting. “If he could change it, he would.”
But Greene County District Attorney David Russo disputed the notion that King was sorry for what he did and called the killing “callous” by shooting another man in the face from just a few feet away.
“He knew exactly what he was doing at that time. ... This is not someone who showed remorse,” Russo said.
As sheriff’s deputies escorted a shackled King from the courtroom after the hearing, Cassandra Worry walked toward him and briefly stood face-to-face with her brother’s killer, although neither said a word and they went in opposite directions after a moment. It was not known when King would be transferred from the Greene County jail into the state prison system.
Take a drive along one of Pennsylvania’s roadways, or walk outside a stadium or ball park following an event, and it’s likely you’ll see trash – plastic bottles, fast-food bags, cigarette butts, beer cans, and much more.
There is a lot of litter on Pennsylvania’s roadways – an estimated 500 million pieces, according to research by the state’s Department of Environment Protection, Department of Transportation and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
It’s a problem the commonwealth aims to solve.
On Monday, the Wolf administration joined representatives from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to announce the launch of the statewide anti-litter campaign, “PA Fights Dirty: Every Litter Bit Matters.”
The campaign calls upon Pennsylvanians to be responsible that every piece of their trash, regardless of size, is disposed of properly.
The campaign is based on research that shows only 3% of Pennsylvanians approve of littering, but 40 to 50% litter.
The goal of “Every Litter Bit Matters” is to educate Pennsylvanians on situational littering, such as leaving trash on the ground next to a full can or in a stadium, and to remind Pennsylvanians that litter of all sizes adds up and creates problems.
“Litter isn’t just ugly to look at. It can cause environmental contamination and put public health at risk,” said Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Ramez Ziadeh. “Litter can leach chemicals into our land and water, and act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus.”
PA Fights Dirty was developed as part of the Wolf administration’s Litter Action Plan and in response to the 2019 Pennsylvania Litter Research Study, which found Pennsylvania has approximately 502.5 million pieces of litter on its roadways.
More than 85% of these pieces are less than four inches in size. “Every Litter Bit Matters” encourages Pennsylvanians to properly dispose of even their smallest pieces of trash.
Cleaning up isn’t just about protecting health, or improving aesthetics and pride.
The cost to clean up is high, an estimated $350 million each year.
“As we work hand-in-hand with local community leaders, they frequently mention the challenges they face with litter – a challenge that impacts property values, business attraction, quality of life, health, and so much more,” said state Department of Community and Economic Development Acting Secretary Neil Weaver. “By preventing littering from occurring, we are saving communities valuable time and money in litter removal.”
Cecil Township Manager Don Gennuso said any efforts to tackle the state’s litter program, including “PA Fights Dirty,” is welcome.
“It is very important to address that problem; it’s something our public works employees have to deal with,” said Gennuso. “Any program that would address (litter) is a positive.”
Pennsylvania State Police also discussed their efforts to enforce litter laws.
From Jan. 1 through June 30, state police issued 661 citations and 562 warnings in enforcing anti-littering laws.
“The Pennsylvania State Police is committed to keeping Pennsylvania beautiful by enforcing the state’s litter laws,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Robert Evanchick. “Littering is 100% preventable with fines beginning at $300. The public is encouraged to report any litter violation they witness by contacting their local law enforcement agency.”
The event also featured the state’s Young Ambassadors Program, a new partnership with PennDOT and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. The program – which is now accepting applications – was recommended in the Litter Action Plan and encourages Pennsylvania rising 10th- through 12th-grade students to help keep the commonwealth clean.
“We are honored to offer the Young Ambassadors of Pennsylvania Program in partnership with PennDOT. We know the students of today hold the key to a sustainable future,” said Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful President Shannon Reiter.
The students – chosen through a competitive process – will commit to nine months of service in representing and upholding the mission and values of KPB, and will have other responsibilities, including participating in at least one community cleanup event through Pick Up Pennsylvania and conducting one community education event targeting youth in the student’s community.
More information and the application for the Young Ambassadors Program can be found on the KPB website.
Folks fluttered to downtown Carnegie over the weekend to celebrate a beloved orange and black beauty at the borough’s second annual Monarch Butterfly Festival.
“Everyone gets into the spirit of it,” said Deneen Underwood, administrative assistant for Carnegie Borough, who helped coordinate Sunday’s event. “We have a lot of vendors, farmers market vendors; they sell a lot of butterfly-themed things.”
The Monarch Butterfly Festival was held during the weekly Carnegie Farmers Market, and shoppers had the opportunity to stock up on fresh local produce and to take a monarch butterfly-friendly nectar plant for the road.
“I used to raise monarch butterflies with my mom and we would go to Phipps for the butterfly show,” said Alyssa Hoffmann, who stopped by the Shade Tree Commission’s booth for a white-tufted plant. “We have a little backyard garden, so I’m happy to get milkweed.”
Hoffmann also took home lavender and another plant that monarch butterflies feed on, which Bob Podurgiel, a member of the Shade Tree Commission, happily handed to her.
Podurgiel and other STC members devoted several hours last month to planting milkweed throughout Carnegie Borough as part of Mayor Stacie Riley’s initiative to bring back the monarch butterflies.
“We used to see more. You can really notice a difference. I used to see them, and now I don’t,” said Underwood. “It’s going to take some time, but we’re really trying to draw them here.”
The monarch butterfly population has for years been decreasing. The eastern monarch butterfly, which once danced on Southwestern Pennsylvanian breezes and fluttered about this area, has plummeted by more than 80% in the last three decades, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.
The western monarch population (which flies west of the Rocky Mountains) has fallen by 99%.
Though the monarch butterfly qualified for the endangered species list in 2020, other species took precedence and were added to the list instead.
In 2021, the Center for Biological Diversity announced the monarch butterfly population was in crisis. That year, Riley signed the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor Monarch Pledge, committing the borough to actionable steps to revitalize the local monarch population.
“That was when we began our efforts toward conservation,” said Underwood. “As we’ve learned more about (monarch butterflies), we’ve learned how much their population really has dwindled. (Riley) wanted to be a part of it because she’s always loved monarchs.”
Pledge-takers promise to complete three of 30 actionable items, and those mayors who complete 24 or more actions are recognized as Monarch Champions.
Last year, Carnegie Borough was invited into the Leaders Circle for its conservation efforts (the borough completed 21 actions).
Dual-purpose rain gardens, which draw monarchs and other pollinators into town and absorb storm water, were completed in 2021, and the Shade Tree Commission has for the last two years planted milkweed throughout the borough.
Riley enlisted local artist Alicia Kesnick to continue her downtown beautification efforts through the installation of a monarch butterfly sculpture, which raises awareness of the monarch population’s decline.
Carnegie Borough was awarded a $3,200 Duquesne Light Community Impact Grant to host this year’s Butterfly Fest. Underwood said most of the grant was spent on plants and seeds, which were handed out to festival attendees.
Milkweed is the only plant on which monarch butterflies lay eggs. Climate change, coupled with herbicide use, has led to fewer milkweed plants, which, in turn, contributes to the monarch’s declining numbers.
One of the easiest – and best – things an individual can do to encourage the repopulation of the monarch species is simply to plant native milkweed and other pollinator plants in their backyards.
It’s especially important to create a welcoming space for monarchs in Southwestern Pennsylvania, which serves as a rest stop for the orange and black insects during their annual migration south, to Mexico. The journey – thousands of butterflies flapping more than 2,500 miles – is considered a natural world wonder, and just as impressive is the multi-generational journey home, from Mexico northward.
On their way north, monarchs lay eggs on milkweed plants in Pennsylvania, setting in motion the next great migration.
“One of their corridors was to come through Pennsylvania and to head north,” said Underwood, who hopes the borough’s emphasis on education inspires locals to get involved in the mayor’s repopulation efforts.
It’s going to take Carnegie and the wider community to save the monarchs.
Hoffmann was crestfallen to learn Sunday the monarch butterfly was last week added to the global endangered species list. But she, along with so many other festival-goers, plans to plant native pollinator plants and do a small part in regenerating a beautiful creature.
Riley declared July 31 Monarch Butterfly Day in Carnegie Borough, and during the festival, folks learned about the butterfly’s decline and how to make a difference at home. Kids of all ages were welcome to color butterfly pictures and have their faces painted, too.
“I really hope that we see butterflies this year,” said Underwood. “We’ve had such good reception (to the festival), we feel that next year will be even better and we might start to see a number of butterflies coming through. The more people that are involved, that will definitely attract more and, we hope, repopulate the monarch butterflies.”
Added Podurgiel, as he handed out seeds and watering cans in the Shade Tree Commission booth, “I’m hoping we’re in time to help them.”
Karen Mansfield contributed reporting to this story.