Pennsylvania v. Tharp (majority)Annotate this Case
Appellant Michelle Sue Tharp was convicted of first degree murder and related offenses after she deliberately starved her seven-year-old daughter to death. After her judgment of sentence was affirmed on appeal, Appellant filed a petition pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”). Following several evidentiary hearings, the Court of Common Pleas (PCRA court) dismissed Appellant’s petition. After review, the Supreme Court affirmed the PCRA court’s denial of relief on Appellant’s guilt phase claims, and reversed on the PCRA court’s denial of relief on the claim that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present mental health mitigation evidence during the penalty phase of trial. Accordingly, the case was remanded for a new penalty hearing.