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Lawyer: Dismiss Breznican charges

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 1:33 a.m.
Valley News Dispatch
Former Apollo police Chief Paul Breznican.

Most of the theft and related charges against former Apollo police Chief Paul Breznican should be dismissed, his attorney says.

Duke George claims that the state failed to make its case for 18 of 21 counts against the borough's former chief at an Oct. 11 preliminary hearing.

George is asking in pre-trial motions for the counts to be dismissed. Breznican attended a pre-trial hearing with George on Tuesday before Armstrong County Judge James Panchik.

Breznican was held for trial Oct. 11 on charges of theft and receiving stolen property for allegedly selling weapons belonging to the borough.

He is also charged with bribery related to his allegedly buying two guns he had confiscated from a resident.

George said there were “gaps and holes” in the testimony of witnesses called by the state at the preliminary hearing before Ford City District Judge Gary DeComo.

George said he has a “valid defense” for the three remaining counts, which involve Breznican allegedly selling an AR-15 rifle that belonged to Apollo Borough.

“We're prepared to go to trial,” George said.

Panchik gave prosecutors with the state Attorney General's office until Feb. 20 to respond to George's request to have the 18 counts dismissed. The state was represented by deputy Attorney General L. Todd Goodwin.

George would have until March 6 to respond to the state's filing, Panchik said.

No arguments were made before Panchik on Tuesday, and the judge issued no rulings.

Jury selection in the case is scheduled to begin on April 8.

Panchik said he would likely preside over the hearing, because he is familiar with the case, but said that decision ultimately rests with President Judge Kenneth Valasek.

Goodwin and George agreed that the discovery process in which the state shares its evidence with the defense had gone well.

Breznican remains free on bond.

State police initially charged Breznican in July. Apollo Council had suspended Breznican from his job in June, and fired him in November.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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