Prosecutors seek to reinstate charges in Erie homicide, shooting cases
Erie County prosecutors are seeking to have criminal charges reinstated in a pair of recent high-profile cases.
Assistant district attorneys cited what they claimed were “errors of law” made by the district judges who heard the cases during recent preliminary hearings in seeking permission to refile charges against Jeff A. Selby, 51, in the death of his girlfriend, Mary Smith, 51, on Erie's west side in late November; and against Kendell C. Foster, 41, in the shooting of Robert Gore, 23, in an east Erie apartment in December.
An Erie County judge had not ruled on the motions as of Friday afternoon.
Erie County Assistant District Attorney Erin Connelly, in her Feb. 7 motion to refile charges against Selby, said the prosecution had presented sufficient evidence to have a charge of criminal homicide bound over to the Court of Common Pleas.
The charge was dismissed by Erie 3rd Ward District Judge Tom Carney during Selby's preliminary hearing on Jan. 24. All of the other charges that Erie police filed against Selby, including aggravated assault and unlawful restraint, were held for trial.
Smith died in St. Vincent Health Center three days after police found her unconscious, with numerous injuries, in her West 17th Street apartment on Nov. 24.
Selby's lawyer, Gene Placidi, argued at the hearing that Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook had never determined the manner of Smith's death. Cook testified at the hearing that the manner of death was undetermined, although natural causes were ruled out.
Connelly also asked the court in her motion to assign a different district judge to hear the matter if prosecutors are granted permission to refile the charges, because Carney had said after the preliminary hearing that he would recuse himself from the case if the homicide charge were refiled.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Cullen filed a motion on Thursday asking a county judge for permission to reinstate criminal charges, including criminal attempt at criminal homicide, that Erie police had filed against Foster in the shooting of Gore in a Parade Street apartment on Dec. 20.
Erie 5th Ward District Judge Joseph Lefaiver dismissed the charges after Foster's Feb. 6 preliminary hearing.
Foster's lawyer, Erie County Assistant Public Defender Stephen Lagner, had argued that prosecutors provided no testimony or evidence at the hearing that connected Foster to shooting Gore in the Parade Street apartment.
Charges against a second defendant, Dimis Colon-Cruz, 32, were withdrawn before the Feb. 6 hearing because of the absence of a witness in the case.
Cullen also asked the court in his motion to assign the case to a different district judge if the charges against Foster were reinstated.
No action was taken on the motions.
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.
- Family wins back rare gold coins
- Liquor Control Board won't pull wines claimed to be toxic with arsenic
- Goodyear deal with PennDOT blurs lines of business, government
- Wolf criticizes UPMC wages; health giant suggests union motivations
- Lawyer: 3 more friar abuse suits settled by former Bishop McCort students