Leighty requests lower bail

Kenneth W. Leighty, the Altoona man who remains a suspect in the disappearance of his daughter-in-law 14 years ago, has asked that his bail on other charges be lowered so he can get out of jail.

Leighty, 65, was placed in the Blair County Prison on April 20 when investigators came to his home at 1225 19th Ave. to question him about a statement he made to his son – the husband of the missing Sherry Leighty – saying she was buried on a large plot of land he owns in Huntingdon County.

He allegedly resisted police and was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and harassment. His bail is $250,000 cash.

Meanwhile, state police have been scouring the land in Huntingdon County, attempting to find evidence of the young mother.

Just Tuesday night it was revealed that bones and clothing were recovered from the 150-acre Huntingdon County site, but so far Huntingdon District Attorney George Zanic is not commenting.

Blair County Assistant Public Defender Edward J. Ferguson now has filed a petition in the Office of the Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts of Blair County asking that a judge order Leighty’s bail reduced to “unsecured,” meaning he will not have to put up any money to gain his release pending trial on the assault charges.

Judge Elizabeth Doyle of Blair County scheduled a hearing on the bail question for May 17. The hearing will be before President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva.

Ferguson said bail in the Leighty case was set in such a manner as to penalize him and to give Huntingdon County authorities time to investigate the alleged homicide.

Kenneth Leighty, Ferguson said, does not have the financial resources to post $250,000 cash and is not a flight risk. Leighty has no criminal record, and Ferguson said Leighty intended to appear at all court proceedings and to comply with whatever bail conditions the court imposes.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.