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Judge Marks denies Patty Rorrer’s request for post-conviction relief Gives her 20 days to submit claims to the court, including ineffectiveness of counsel



Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas Judge Anna-Kristie M. Marks was assigned the Writ of Habeas Corpus and Post-Conviction Relief Act Petition of convicted killer Patricia Rorrer following the recusal of Judge Thomas M. McCaffrey on May 30.

McCaffrey was given the case following the denial by Judge Douglas Reichley, two days earlier, on May 28, to recuse himself at the request of Rorrer’s attorney, Troy Crichton Esq.

In the same denial of recusal order, however, Reichley stated he and McCaffrey were scheduled to switch judicial assignments as of June 3 and proceedings would be handled by McCaffrey after that date.

That was not to be, as McCaffrey recused himself four days earlier.

Rorrer was convicted of killing Joanne Katrinak and her infant son, Alex, who lived in Catasauqua before their deaths.

The pair were reported missing by husband and father, Andrew Katrinak, on Dec. 15, 1994.

Andrew Katrinak was also Rorrer’s former boyfriend,

The remains of the mother and son were found by a farmer on Palm Sunday 1995 in a wooded area of Heidelberg Township.

The key question in the Habeas Corpus hearing on Nov. 6, 2023, before Reichley was: Did the original prosecution withhold exculpatory evidence from Rorrer’s then-defense team, Attorneys James Burke and James Pfeiffer?

Marks, who denied Rorrer’s request for post-conviction relief on June 17, however, gave her a little wriggle room, 20 days before she issues her final order, for any claims she wants the court to consider, including was Crichton ineffective in his PCRA representation.

Marks’ order states in part “ ... this is the Defendant’s fifth Post Conviction Relief Act petition following finality of judgment on July 10, 2000, and that the petition will [only] be entertained [if] a strong prima facie showing is offered to demonstrate that a miscarriage of-justice may have occurred.

“It further appearing that the defendant has failed to establish a prima fade showing that “the proceedings which resulted in her conviction were so unfair that a miscarriage of justice occurred which no civilized society could tolerate, or that she was innocent of the crimes for which she was charged and it further appearing that the defendant is attempting to relitigate the claims decided ...”

FILE PHOTO Patricia Rorrer is escorted out the courtroom of former District Justice Edward Hartman, Slatington, by Pa. State Trooper Robert Egan at 1 a.m. June 27, 1997, following her arraignment on murder charges.