A 23-year-old former babysitter in Pennsylvania will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the cold-blooded murders of a 31-year-old woman, her 31-year-old boyfriend, and her 10-year-old child.
Lawrence County Common Pleas President Judge Dominick Motto ordered Steven Procopio to serve two sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2018 fatal shootings of Nichole Pumphrey, her young daughter Amariah Emery, and Lawrence Cannon, court records show.
A Lawrence County jury in October found Procopio guilty on two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the mother-daughter killings, and one count of third-degree murder in connection with Cannon’s death. Procopio’s sentence for third-degree murder was merged with the second-degree convictions.
Police said that Procopio and another man, 31-year-old Anthony Cooper, on the evening of Oct. 18, 2018 went to Pumphrey’s home located in the 300 block of North Street with the intention of robbing the residence. Authorities said that Procopio used to babysit for Pumphrey, who was the mother of five young children, all of whom were present at the time of the shootings.
Cooper earlier this year pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree murder. He was ordered to serve a sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison.
According to a report from New Castle News, Procopio shot Pumphrey and Cannon in the head while they were sitting on a couch in the living room. Pumphrey was shot twice while Cannon was shot once.
Amariah was reportedly coming down the stairs from her bedroom while holding her 14-month-old sister in her arms when Procopio shot her once through the mouth. Amariah’s 7-year-old sister reportedly witnessed her sibling’s murder.
In interviews with investigators, Procopio reportedly confessed to being in the home on the night of the murders, but claimed he was not the person who pulled the trigger.
Several of the victims’ family members read victim impact statements prior to Judge Motto handing down the sentence.
“I can’t imagine the last thought you had before you decided to pull that trigger while you were standing there looking at her holding her baby sister,” Lisa Pumphrey, Nichole’s sister and Amariah’s aunt said, according to New Castle News. “Amariah was a beautiful little girl. I went from picking out baby clothes to picking out a [burial] plot for her. She was my first niece, the first child of my sister.”
She reportedly said that she could only “imagine” what Amariah would be doing now as all of her friends are participating in cheerleading and going to school dances. She also reportedly lambasted Procopio for failing to show any remorse for his actions.
“The Bible says to forgive [others] like [God] forgives us, but how can I forgive that you took the lives of three people, one of whom was a 10-year-old child?” Lisa reportedly said. “It’s been four years since you made these choices, and still the lies spill from your mouth. You will never know how much you have traumatized this family. I hope God makes you pay for your sins.”
Cooper was a father of four. Following Procopio’s arrest, his father, Lawrence Williams, said his son’s death was “senseless.”