South Jersey Man Sentenced for Murders

South Jersey Man Sentenced for Murders A South Jersey man was sentenced Wednesday for the murder of his mother and the random killing of an 11-year-old boy.

In court, Ronald Pituch apologized and said he was possessed by the devil. Pituch blamed his killing spree on mental illness and alcohol.

The mother of the Gregory Katsnelson, 11, said that she is opposed to the death penalty, but she did want to have her say about the loss of her son in court. Cathy Katsnelson fought back tears as she read a family letter about the murder of her son.

"Everything about him is wonderful. There is no doubt he is in heaven," Katsnelson said. "Anyone who knew Greg knew he didn't have a bad bone in his body. Why did God take him away? It wasn't God. It was the devil."

"After he butchered his mother with dumbbells he got on his motorcycle. Greg rode at him and he grabbed him off the bike, stabbed him in the back with such force the blade broke off in his back. He dragged him into a pond and left him there," said Robert Bernaradi, the Burlington County Prosecutor.

After killing twice, Pituch rode his motorcycle to the police station. Police knew his mother. Josephine Pituch was a member of the local emergency medical technician squad.

Pituch has a history of mental problems that go back to his early teens.

"He is paranoid, schizophrenic, suffers from manic depression," said Ceril Edwards, Pituch's defense attorney. "Prior to this happening, the mother called the father to say he was acting out and should be taken to the hospital, but this happened before they got him there."

"While he had a mental illness, he was clearly sane when he performed this atrocious act and he understood his actions," Bernardi said.

Pituch is 30 years old. His sentence calls for him to serve 47½ years in jail before he will be eligible for parole.

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