Jury deliberates in case of Germantown grandmother’s beating death

A Philadelphia jury is still deliberating the fate of a Germantown man charged with murdering a grandmother in her home.

Corey Conaway, 20, is accused of killing Ellen Walton on the 6300 block of Magnolia St. during a home invasion two years ago.

According to police testimony, officers found Walton, Conaway’s neighbor, in her basement on Jan. 18, 2011 while responding to what was believed to be a robbery in progress.

Three days later, Conaway confessed to breaking into Walton’s home and beating her over the head with a frying pan before fleeing in her car with an array of stolen goods, according to testimony provided by a detective assigned to the case. Conaway told police the incident occurred Jan. 8.

Defendant muzzled and kept out of courtroom

Prior to the start of Thursday’s deliberations, Conaway refused to remain quiet before charges were read to the jury on four different occasions, saying he would be ready to continue “as soon as the prosecution properly validates their claim.”

Common Pleas Court Judge Glenn Bronson found Conaway in contempt of court and opted to have him listen to the charges against him while gagged and seated by the doorway between the courtroom’s holding cell and floor.

Jurors could not see Conaway, who had a pad placed over his mouth, held in place with plastic tape. He was in the courtroom for a spell, ungagged, after jurors asked to rehear his statement to police.

The jury will resume its deliberations just after 9 a.m. Friday. A verdict and potential sentencing hearing will not be the end of Conaway’s court time, however. He remains charged in a burglary of a property near Walton’s home, a case expected to be tried next week.

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