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Man Gets Decades in Prison for Motel Killing of Girlfriend

June 17, 2016

Contact: Jennifer Schorn, 215.348.6337, jmschorn@buckscounty.org

A Warminster man who admitted fatally beating and strangling his girlfriend in a Bensalem motel last year has been sentenced to at least 29 years and nine months in state prison.

Joseph McFadden, 39, pleaded guilty Thursday in Bucks County Common Pleas Court to third-degree murder, felony theft and other charges in the May 11, 2015, slaying of Kristin McNally.

McNally, 32, was found dead inside a room at the Knights Inn on Lincoln Highway in the Trevose section of Bensalem. McFadden had wrapped a telephone cord around her neck in a clumsy attempt to make her death appear to be a suicide.

An autopsy revealed that McNally had died of blunt-force trauma to her head and manual strangulation. Her injuries included facial and skull fractures, and a broken bone in her throat that is typical of strangulation cases. Investigators concluded that McFadden had beaten her with a drawer from a bedside bureau in the room where they were staying.

“I know I can never fix what has been done,” McFadden told Judge Gary B. Gilman and many of McNally’s relatives and friends who attended the hearing. “But I truly am sorry. I truly am.” He did not say in court why he had killed McNally, but acknowledged taking her car, cell phone and cash.

McFadden, who already has spent considerable time in state prison for armed robbery, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, theft by unlawful taking, tampering with physical evidence, possession of an instrument of crime, and two counts of driving under the influence.

His admissions, and the recommended sentence that Gilman accepted, resulted from a plea agreement negotiated by Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Schorn and Bucks County Public Defender Christina A. King.

Gilman imposed maximum possible sentences for each crime: 20 to 40 years for third-degree murder, three and one-half to seven years for the felony theft, two and one-half to five years for possessing an instrument of crime, one to two years for tampering with evidence, three to six months for the first DUI, and two and one-half to five years for the second DUI. He further ordered that the sentences run consecutively, for a total sentence of 29 years and nine months to 59 years and six months.    

A mitigation report submitted by King to Gilman described McFadden as having a substantial criminal history. Summarizing the report, Gilman said that McFadden grew up in a “chaotic and abusive” family that featured “stunning quantities of substance abuse,” leaving McFadden with “some degree of brain damage.”

“He has not had an easy life,” the judge said of McFadden, but “it certainly does not excuse murdering someone, especially someone he professes to love.”

“It’s abhorrent behavior,” Gilman told McFadden. “You know that. She did not deserve to die. She did not want to die.”

Her loved ones described McNally as a spontaneous, loving woman missed by many, especially her 4-year-old son, Zackary, “who constantly wonders where his mother went,” said Mike Forr, the child’s father.

“I try to explain to him as best I can that his mommy is in heaven,” Forr said in court. “But when Zackary is older, how do I explain this horrific truth? He will just be left with this horrendous tragedy.”

Kimberly McNally, the victim’s sister, noted that McFadden’s sentencing came on what would have been Kristin McNally’s 34th birthday.

“It’s a day when we should be celebrating,” she said, “but instead we’re here having to face the man that took her life away.”

Approved for release by Matthew Weintraub, Chief of Prosecution.


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Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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