Man tied to Kotecki killing wants trial on drug, gun charges
A Lower Burrell man accused of once possessing the handgun used to kill a police officer in 2011 wants to withdraw a no-contest plea he made in June.
Instead, James “Lutzo” Ameris III, 55, wants to go to trial, according to a motion his attorney filed on Wednesday in Westmoreland County.
A judge has not ruled on the request.
On June 3, Ameris pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a .22-caliber rifle and drugs in his residence in 2010. He is a convicted felon who for years has been banned from owning or having firearms.
The same day, he pleaded no-contest to nine drug or gun charges in three additional cases — including once possessing the .40-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol that Charlie Post used to kill Patrolman Derek Kotecki, 40.
Ameris maintains that he never had the pistol and doesn't know how Post got it, according to his attorney.
Also among the no-contest pleas was a charge that Ameris pressured a man into giving false or misleading testimony to prosecutors who were investigating a gun possession case against Ameris.
A sentencing hearing for all four cases scheduled for July 14 has been canceled.
Kotecki was killed in the parking lot of the Dairy Queen on Greensburg Road in Lower Burrell by Charlie Post on Oct. 12, 2011.
Police were looking for Post for shooting at a man in the Clarion Hotel parking lot in New Kensington 10 days earlier.
Police responded to the Dairy Queen after receiving a tip from Ameris that Post would be there. Police and prosecutors said Ameris drove Post to the Dairy Queen in a white Jeep at about 7 p.m. and went into the restaurant. Post stayed behind in the Jeep.
As Kotecki, armed with a rifle, approached the Jeep, Post fired repeatedly through a closed window, detectives said.
Kotecki was hit twice and died. The county coroner ruled that Post was committing suicide as he was being shot by a New Kensington police officer.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jeannette company’s miniature steam engines coveted for decades
- Westmoreland County furloughs weights and measurements director
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- United Way surplus funds benefit 9 nonprofits in Westmoreland County
- Penn Township man who shot friend gets probation
- Hempfield leaders kill zoning request for townhomes
- Demolition project at Oliver’s Pourhouse in Greensburg moves ahead
- Youngwood fire department reaches out to homeless family
- Unity name excised from Latrobe parks, recreation
- 11 Westmoreland inmates accused of setting fire put in solitary confinement
- Arbitration decides Westmoreland court workers’ pact