Convicted murderer appointed to Montgomery County PA prison board of inspectors arrested over fraudulent claims for Covid funds

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The Montgomery County, Pennsylvania commissioners voted 2-1 to allow a convicted murderer to join the Prison Board of Inspectors in June 2022, but the man has now been arrested and charged with forgery, identity theft, and theft by deception, according to the Delaware Valley Journal.

The man, Vernon Steed, was reportedly unable to make bail in the latest charges brought against him. The motion to initially move Steed to the Board of Inspectors was initially opposed by only one of the three commissioners, Minority Republican Commissioner Joe Gale. The two that voted for Steed’s appointment were Commissioners Kenneth Lawrence Jr and Val Arkoosh. 

The report noted that Governor Josh Shapiro had promoted Arkoosh as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, but she apparently stepped down as the chair of the county commissioners earlier this year.

In September 1985, then-17-year-old Steed shot at a rival drug dealer in the streets of North Philadelphia and accidentally struck Serena Gibson, killing her.

Steed was found guilty of first-degree murder in 1988, and subsequently served 32 years of a life sentence before being released in 2018.

Arkoosh appeared to be a huge supporter of Steed’s appointment, saying in June 2022: “I just want to comment that I do intend to support Mr. Steed’s appointment. That he will bring an individual to the Prison Board of Inspectors with lived experience. And I think that will be an extremely important perspective to have as part of our county Prison Board of Inspectors.”

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