HARRISBURG — A decision was delivered Friday by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg upholding Victor Hare’s sentencing for the 2014 overdose death of a 9-year-old boy.
On April 20, 2017, a jury found Hare guilty in the Oct. 13, 2014 death of Korbin Rager at Hare’s Point Township home of one count of drug delivery resulting in death, one count of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering the welfare of children, as well as misdemeanor convictions of two counts of recklessly endangering another person during an April trial.
Hare, 61, an inmate at SCI-Laurel Heights, appealed his 2017 sentence of 25 to 50 years in state prison which was handed down by President Judge Charles Saylor. The appeal was heard by President Judge Emeritus John T. Bender and Judges Jack A. Panella and Mary P. Murray, who determined Hare’s claims to an unfair trial held no merit.
Hare initially appealed the case to the Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas, but the appeal was denied by President Judge Charles H. Saylor on July 20, 2017. Hare cited a lack of evidence, a need to merge charges and statements made to the media in that appeal attempt.
In a 16-page memorandum written by Panella, he said they believed there to be “sufficient evidence to support a finding beyond a reasonable doubt” that Hare gave Rager Oxycodone by crushing it and putting it in a bottle of Mountain Dew. Rager’s 13-year-old brother testified to seeing something “crushed up” floating in Rager’s drink. DNA of both Rager and Hare was found through forensic testing on a straw the brother said Hare used that night to snort Oxycodone.
The judges also declared Hare to be responsible for the well-being of the children as the only adult in the home that night.
Hare also contended his acquittal on indecent assault and aggravated assault charges “indicate the jury did not believe the Commonwealth’s theory that Appellant drugged K.R. (Rager) in order to assault him.” Panella wrote the acquittal on the two charges “did not invalidate his other convictions as the factfinder is free to believe ‘all, part, or none of the evidence present.’”
As there was no transcript taken during jury selection, it was ruled there is no basis to determine Hare’s claims that prejudice occurred during jury selection, nor did they find the use of post-mortem photographs to be inflammatory. Hare opposed the use of photos, stating it was “unnecessary” for the jury to see them as he never disputed Rager’s cause of death.
In April 2018, Hare pleaded guilty to a felony charge of possessing a firearm while a convicted felon. A gun was found in Hare’s home during a search following Rager’s death. Hare argued against the charge claiming it was related to a case in which he was already convicted.
As the firearm didn’t relate directly to Rager’s case, its only connection being it was found in the home during a search after the death, Panella wrote the trial court “did not err in denying Appellant’s dismissal motion.”
Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz released a statement Friday on the decision handed down by the Superior Court.
“Chief Joshua VanKirk and the Point Township Police conducted a flawless investigation into this hideous crime,” he said. “Now that the Superior Court has affirmed the jury verdict, it is time for Victor Hare to face the fact that he will probably spend the rest of his life in prison for his disgusting crimes.