TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Attorneys ask for change of venue in trial of man accused of killing Penn Hills police officer and another man

About Adam Brandolph
Related Stories

Daily Photo Galleries


By Adam Brandolph

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 3:48 p.m.

A Homewood man accused of killing a Penn Hills police officer and another man can't get a fair trial in Allegheny County because prosecutors released information about a proposed plea bargain to the media that “tainted” the jury pool.

Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey said in a motion requesting a change of venue for the trial of Ronald Robinson that current and potential jurors were tainted last week when Mike Manko, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, told reporters that his office had rejected a plea deal that would have sent Robinson away for two life terms without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Robinson, 35, who is charged with the Dec. 6, 2009, fatal shootings of Officer Michael Crawshaw, 32, and Danyal Morton, 40, of Penn Hills. Police said Robinson killed Morton in a Penn Hills home over a $500 drug debt, left the house and fired at Crawshaw, striking the officer several times while he still was in his patrol car.

Both Manko and Thomassey declined comment.

In the motion filed on Friday, Thomassey said Manko “unilaterally and without warning to counsel” released the information.

“The proposal was not made in open court, nor was it intended to be communicated to any party beyond those required to make a decision as to whether or not to accept the proposed plea,” Thomassey said.

Prosecutors rejected the plea after speaking with the victims' families. Manko wouldn't disclose what relatives of Crawshaw and Morton said.

Jury selection in the case began on Nov. 26. Eight jurors have been seated. Opening statements are scheduled to begin on Jan. 3.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Donald turns down New York invite for NFL Draft
  2. UFO, Bigfoot encounters to be discussed at Connellsville library program
  3. Pens insider: Penalty killing a concern in Stanley Cup playoffs
  4. Man found fatally shot in Larimer a mile away from Homewood peace march
  5. ‘Going downtown’ with dad, mom in ’50s among Connellsville native’s treasured memories
  6. Chat with Dejan Kovacevic: April 18, 2014
  7. Crash victim dies day after ‘horrific’ wreck in Armstrong County
  8. Chef named for Pittsburgh’s new Kimpton hotel restaurant
  9. Kovacevic: Panic over Pirates? In April?
  10. Resurfacing part of Route 119 on list of PennDOT projects in Connellsville area
  11. Champion church offers new sound effects for annual remembrance of Crucifixion
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.