Judge delays Leighty’s bail request

HOLLIDAYSBURG – A request for lower bail on aggravated assault and related charges will remain on hold for the Altoona man now facing a homicide charge in the 1999 death of his daughter-in-law.

Blair County Judge Jolene Kopriva said Friday that she would reschedule a bail request hearing for Kenneth W. Leighty in about 60 days. The public defenders’ office made the request before the homicide charge was filed.

Assistant District Attorney Wade Kagarise said he agreed to the delay because it will allow time to assess what’s happening with the homicide charge Leighty faces in Huntingdon County.

“And in the meantime, he’s going to remain in jail,” Kagarise said.

Police charged Leighty on Monday with killing his 23-year-old daughter-in-law, Sherry Leighty, and burying her body in the Warriors Mark area. Leighty directed investigators a week ago to the Huntingdon County location where they found Sherry Leighty’s remains.

Before being charged with homicide, Leighty was arrested and jailed on April 19 on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and harassment after allegedly resisting police investigators who visited his Altoona residence. His bail was set at $250,000 cash.

The public defender’s office, in a petition to the court, said Leighty didn’t have the financial resources to post bail. The office also said Leighty had no criminal record, would not be a flight risk and intended to comply with whatever bail conditions the court imposes.

On the homicide charge, Leighty’s court-appointed attorney, Thomas K. Hooper, said Monday that he expects the case against his client to be resolved with a lesser degree charge, not first-degree murder. Leighty maintains that his daughter-in-law’s death was accidental, Hooper said.