SMETHPORT – A plea agreement finalized Thursday is expected to send killer Thomas Paul Haggie, 31, to state prison for the remainder of his life.
Haggie admitted in McKean County Court that he choked and stabbed Megan Konopka, 21, who was eight months pregnant at the time of the murder, on Sept. 12, 2009 at the Riddell House in Bradford. Her body was discovered in Haggie's room in the building.
The case drew national attention because Haggie allegedly sent a photo of the murder scene to a California woman on her cell phone. The woman relayed the photo to Bradford police, who recognized the murder location and began the investigation that led to the discovery of the body.
Under the plea agreement, Haggie is expected to receive two life terms in state prison when he is sentenced at 1 p.m. Jan. 13 in county court. This is the same sentence handed down to co-defendant Greggory Theobald, who previously pleaded guilty to the murder of the woman and her unborn son.
County District Attorney Ray Learn, commenting on the finalization of the plea agreement, said "this is what we were looking for." Learn said the victim's family wanted the case "resolved" as soon as possible. Had the case gone to trial as scheduled next month, Learn was prepared to seek the death penalty for Haggie.
Instead, the deal is expected to send Haggie to state prison for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole.
"He'll be off the streets for life," Learn said. "He'll die in prison."
Looking at the brutality of the crime involving an innocent victim, Learn referred to Haggie as "evil."
"There's no other way to describe him," Learn said.
County President Judge John Pavlock presided Thursday at the 65-minute hearing at the small courtroom in the McKean County Courthouse. The hearing for the plea agreement opened last week, but was abruptly ended by Pavlock when Haggie claimed he neglected to take his prescribed medications that day. The hearing Thursday apparently was Haggie's last chance to go through the plea agreement procedure before heading to trial and a possible cell on death row.
For more on this story, see the Dec. 17 edition of The Daily Press.