A Columbus Township man serving life in prison without parole for a first-degree murder conviction has had his bid for a new trial denied.
Judge Maureen Skerda issued an opinion on Friday following a post-conviction collateral relief hearing for David Beattie held May 17.
Beattie was found guilty of the murder of Andrew Balog in 2008. Police found Balog dead in Beattie's Columbus Township home in February 2008.
Beattie's petition for appeal covered 12 points, 11 of which assert his defense counsel was ineffective, and the other claiming exculpatory evidence was found at the crime scene after trial.
Beattie's defense counsel at the trial was Timothy Lucas of Erie. Lucas has since been disbarred following a 2010 guilty plea to tax evasion.
Under Pennsylvania law, in order to be eligible for an appeal under post-conviction relief laws, Beattie was required to "establish by a preponderance of the evidence" the assertions in his petition.
Under a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling, the burden of proof for ineffective counsel in post-conviction appeals lies on the party submitting the petition. Skerda ruled Beattie did not meet this burden in any of the 11 counts asserting ineffectiveness of counsel.
In her opinion, Skerda noted Beattie "made no mention of alleged exculpatory evidence during the hearing." She further noted an affidavit supporting the alleged evidence from Beattie's fiance Suzanne Helpler could only be considered as, "inadmissible hearsay", without other evidence to support it.
Skerda ruled none of Beattie's 12 points provided strong enough evidence to warrant post-conviction relief under Pennsylvania law and denied his request.
Beattie will have 30 days to appeal the decision.