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'Errors' in prison records won't free lifer who killed retired teacher in 1969

It is expected that Edward Silvis would grasp at legal straws to escape the life prison sentence he is serving for the 1969 murder of a retired school teacher.

His latest effort in that vein fell flat with the state Superior Court.

Essentially, Silvis, now 76, claimed he should be released because of clerical errors in his prison records.

He’s already been behind bars for 47 years. In the state court’s recent opinion, Senior Judge Patricia H. Jenkins ensured he’ll stay there indefinitely.

The back story here is that Silvis shot and killed retired teacher Alice Siggins during an armed robbery in her Armstrong County home on the evening of April 12, 1969. Investigators said he shot Siggins once after her housekeeper left the room to get the money he demanded.

Silvis told the housekeeper the shooting had been accidental and then fled without taking any cash. He turned himself in to state police that same night.

Since his conviction, Silvis has tried and failed five times to convince the courts to let him out of prison. His latest bid, which Jenkins’ court denied, centered on the prison records he claims are wrongly keeping him behind bars.

First, he cited a form filed in 1988 that he claimed erroneously stated he was convicted of first-degree murder. Silvis contended that his murder conviction was ungraded. He also focused on a record filed in 2004 that he said mistakenly listed him as having been convicted under a murder stature that didn’t take effect until 1973.

The supposed mistakes should have justified his immediate release, he insisted.

No, they don’t, Jenkins concluded. She ruled that Silvis had waited too long – 43 years too long – to file his appeal, so it cannot be legally addressed.

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