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Roxborough man pleads guilty to murder, burglary of 76-year-old neighbor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Roxborough man has pleaded guilty to fatally beating and choking his elderly neighbor nearly two years ago during a home burglary.  

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Mark McLaughlin admitted to killing his 76-year-old neighbor Anthony Martella in September 2017, inside the Hill Road home he shared with his older sister who has dementia.  

The 23-year-old pleaded guilty to third degree murder and burglary charges and was sentenced to 26 1/2 to 55 years in prison.

Authorities say McLaughlin and his co-defendant Damir Williams bound Martella with packing tape, before beating and choking him, and ransacking his home. 

Martella spent seven months in the hospital with severe brain damage, before he eventually died.

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At the hearing, McLaughlin briefly spoke, apologizing to the court for his actions, saying he knew the man since he was child.

His attorney outlined a long life of drug addiction and depression, and McLaughlin’s struggles through his life after his mother committed suicide. 

Prosecutors read a heartfelt letter from Martella’s relatives about how his death has painfully impacted their family.

Judge Glenn Bronson told McLaughlin that the case one of the most horrific and tragic he has seen.

Williams rejected a deal and his trial is set for May.

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