Trial for Rahmael Holt, charged with killing Officer Brian Shaw, postponed until August
The capital murder trial of a Harrison man charged with the November 2017 shooting death of a New Kensington police officer has been postponed until August.
The attorney for Rahmael Sal Holt, 30, said in court Wednesday that he needed more time to prepare for trial, which had been scheduled to begin in April.
Defense lawyer Tim Dawson said a new expert had to be hired to review Holt’s background in preparation for the case’s potential penalty phase should Holt be found guilty of the first-degree murder of Officer Brian Shaw.
Shaw was gunned down Nov. 17, 2017, following a traffic stop in New Kensington.
Holt was arrested and charged with Shaw’s murder after a four-day manhunt following the shooting. In previous court appearances, Holt’s defense lawyers suggested Holt was not the man who fired the fatal shots.
Westmoreland County prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty against Holt.
Dawson said no work was completed and no money had been paid to an expert hired last year by the defense.
Westmoreland County Court Judge Rita Hathaway authorized the defense to spend up to $5,000 to hire the new expert, who is expected to help craft a case as to why Holt’s life should be spared.
Because of that additional work, along with difficulty in finding a private investigator who will work for the defense, the judge delayed the trial four months.
“We have not been able to secure an investigator because of the nature of the case,” Dawson said. “Most private investigators are former police officers and so far six have turned us down.”
Because of those issues, both the defense and prosecutors said they needed more time to prepare for the trial.
Jury selection is now scheduled to begin Aug. 5.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .