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Chester County woman faces life after conviction in New Jersey murders of father, his girlfriend

Digital Brief: Sunday, March 3, 2024
Digital Brief: Sunday, March 3, 2024 02:51

A Pennsylvania woman faces a life term after being convicted of murder and weapons offenses last week in the shooting and stabbing deaths of her father and his longtime girlfriend 2 1/2 years ago in New Jersey.

The Asbury Park Press reported that 57-year-old Sherry Lee Heffernan of Landenberg showed no emotion when the jury foreperson in Ocean County announced Friday that she had been found guilty of the murders of her father, John Enders, 87, and Francoise Pitoy, 75, Enders' longtime live-in girlfriend. She faces life in prison when she is sentenced May 10.

One of Pitoy's daughters, Valerie Lewis Evans, put her head down and clasped her husband's hand, then turned and smiled at Enders' grandson, Andrew Vero, the Asbury Park Press reported.

The bodies of the victims were discovered in the fall of 2021 at his waterfront home in Surf City on Long Beach Island. Police said both had been shot in the jaw and stabbed dozens of times.

New Jersey authorities alleged that Heffernan was upset with her father because she had been cut out of his will, and she traveled to the home in her recreational vehicle on the night of Sept. 29, 2021. Prosecutors cited evidence tracking the vehicle and Heffernan's cellphone along that route, as well as three footprints identified as hers on blood-stained areas of the home's kitchen floor.

Defense attorneys Steven Altman and Phil Nettl argued there was no evidence that Heffernan was in the vehicle and cited testimony taking issue with the idea that a person seen climbing over a fence at the home was her. Altman said defense attorneys believed they had raised enough issues to bar a guilty verdict, the Asbury Park Press reported.

Heffernan was arrested in October 2021 and has been held in Ocean County jail ever since. The Daily Local News reports that she was extradited from Pennsylvania after a brief appearance in Chester County Court of Common Pleas during which she told a reporter she was not guilty and was "being framed."

Evans said she was happy with the verdict, adding that "prayers do work." Sandrine Lewis, Pitoy's other daughter, said she felt justice had been done, the Asbury Park Press reported.

"It's pure relief, and we can move on now," Vero said.

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