News Briefing

Milano’s killer can file triple-size brief

Three appellate judges have permitted Frank R. Chester to file an oversized legal brief in his appeal to be cleared of all charges in the grisly slaying of gay artist Anthony Milano.

On June 18, Third Circuit Court of Appeals judges Thomas L. Ambro, Thomas M. Hardiman and Kent A. Jordan ruled that Chester can file a 90-page brief, rather than a standard 30-page brief.

After a 1988 trial in Bucks County, Chester and co-defendant Richard R. Laird were convicted of murdering Milano and sentenced to death.

They’re currently housed on death row.

But Chester claims his attorney had a pending DUI charge at the time of the Milano trial, and didn’t serve him effectively.

He wants the appeals court to void all of his convictions relating to Milano’s murder.

Chester’s attorneys must file their appellate brief by July 14. Then, Bucks County prosecutors will have 30 days to file a response.

Prosecutor Stephen B. Harris told PGN that after he reads Chester’s brief, he may ask the court for permission to file an oversized response.

Call held in marriage-recognition case

A marriage-recognition case filed in federal court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania remains pending, due to the unsettled state of marriage equality.

Cara Palladino and Isabelle Barker are suing in federal court to ensure their out-of-state marriage is recognized in Pennsylvania.

U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin considered dismissing the case, noting that same-gender marriages became legal in Pennsylvania due to the Whitewood ruling.

But a Schuylkill County official is appealing the Whitewood ruling.

In a June 17 conference call, attorneys for Palladino and Barker explained the unsettled nature of marriage equality in Pennsylvania.

Michael L. Banks, an attorney for the women, said the conference call went well.

“We had a phone conference with the judge to report on the status of the case,” Banks told PGN. “Attorneys for Gov. Corbett and Attorney General Kane participated. The judge said she would consider how best to handle our case, but hadn’t yet reached a decision.”

Nizah group to meet

The Justice for Nizah committee will hold a meeting next week to discuss future activities.

Morris was a transgender woman who became a homicide victim in 2002 shortly after entering a Philadelphia police vehicle.

The case remains unsolved, and her advocates are seeking a state probe.

Agenda items for the J4N meeting include an update on endorsements that have been gathered for a state probe.

The meeting is scheduled to begin 6 p.m. June 30 in the community room of the William Way Center, 1315 Spruce St. The public is invited to attend.

— Tim Cwiek

Vocal group celebrates pride, history

At 7:30 p.m. June 30, come out for a special free concert performed by Philadelphia Voices of Pride at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St.

Prior to the concert, there will be an opportunity to view the exhibit “That’s So Gay: Outing Gay America” at 5:30 p.m. at the Library Company. The PVOP draws inspiration from the Library Company’s early American sheet-music collection.

In addition to the concert, the tap-dancing group Men on Tap will perform their hit number, “Light in the Loafers.”

PVOP is a vocal ensemble devoted to promoting a positive image of the LGBT community. For more information on this event and other upcoming events, visit

Gay community night at Phillies

On Aug. 5, join hundreds of LGBT baseball fans and non-baseball fans at the 12th Annual Gay Community Night at the Phillies. Sit with your LGBT friends, family and allies in the reserved Gay Community Night sections.

The Phillies will take on the Astros at 7:05 p.m., but be in your seats before 6:40 p.m. to see someone from the LGBT community in Philly throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Tickets are $26 (sections 201-206) or $17 (sections 301-305). A portion of every ticket sold will benefit the Sean Halpin Memorial Scholarship Fund, which supports continuing LGBT students attending law school in the greater Philadelphia area.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call Colleen at 215-463-5000.

— Matty Bennett