Pennsylvania man sentenced to death in dismemberment case

By Joe McDonald STROUDSBURG Pa. (Reuters) - A jury on Tuesday sentenced a Pennsylvania man to death for the first-degree murder of a homeless woman whose body parts were found stuffed in garbage bags strewn along two highways. The convicted murderer, Charles Hicks, 40, showed no emotion as the decision was read out in the Monroe County courtroom. A jury reached the sentence after deliberating six-and-a-half hours. Jurors convicted Hicks on Friday of all three charges he faced in the beating, strangulation and dismemberment of Deanna Null, 36, of Scranton. Her remains were found in January 2008. Hicks, a former electrical contractor at the Tobyhanna Army Depot, was convicted of first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. Null's body parts in garbage bags, found along two interstate highways in northeastern Pennsylvania, showed very little blood. They were cut so precisely that troopers initially thought they may have been medical waste that fell off a truck. Testimony in the two-week trial turned on competing theories of whether Null's wounds were inflicted before or after she died. (Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Mohammad Zargham)