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A Lancaster man convicted of murdering a local school teacher was resentenced Wednesday, but the new terms are not likely to impact how much time he spends behind bars.
Marcus Rutter was originally sentenced to 54 to 109 years in prison for the 2014 killing of 32-year-old Nicole Mathewson, a teacher at Brownstown Elementary School.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court later ruled the maximum term was inappropriate; Rutter should have received a max term of life on the first-degree murder conviction.
So on Wednesday, Judge David Ashworth ordered a new sentence: 54 years to life in prison.
Rutter, a 20-year-old inmate at a state prison in Clearfield County, appeared via video conference, and declined to comment when asked by Judge Ashworth.
Lancaster city police charged Rutter and Thomas Moore, now 29, with robbing and killing Mathewson during a break-in at her Lancaster city home.
Moore, 25 at the time of the crimes, is serving a life sentence, plus 20 years.
At Wednesday’s hearing, First Assistant District Attorney Christopher Larsen said he would be “hard pressed to find (a crime) as evil as the one before you.”
Larsen also responded to statements from Rutter’s defense about Rutter’s accomplishments and program involvement as a prison inmate.
“Nicole Mathewson no longer exists,” Larsen said. “She doesn’t get to work out in the sun. She doesn’t get to visit with her family.”
She never got to experience having a brother-in-law and a new aunt, which happened since she died, Larsen added.
While ordering the new sentence, Judge Ashworth called Rutter the “precipitating force” in the crime, having watched Mathewson’s North Franklin Street home before it was chosen as a target.
The crime, Judge Ashworth said, “was violent in the extreme.”
Mathewson was beaten to death inside the house. Her debit card, vehicle and other items were stolen.
Rutter took Mathewson’s cellphone and used it to access Facebook – while she was bound and gagged in her home.
In all, Rutter pleaded guilty in 2016 to: first-degree murder, conspiracy to first-degree murder, burglary, robbery, receiving stolen property, and access device fraud.
Regarding Rutter’s sentence, the appellate court made its ruling in response to a request for a lighter sentence, filed by Rutter.
Lancaster city police Detective Jimmy Mummau filed charges and was present for Wednesday’s hearing.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; email@example.com; Twitter: @BrettHambright