Westmoreland judge calls father of accused cop killer ‘danger to the community’
A Westmoreland County judge ruled Thursday that the father of accused cop killer Rahmael Sal Holt will remain in jail on $100,000 bond until after his son’s capital murder trial next month.
Gregory Baucum Jr., 48, of Pittsburgh has been in jail since March after he was arrested and charged in connection with what police said were attempts to intimidate witnesses expected to testify against his son.
Holt is accused of shooting and killing New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw in November 2017.
Defense attorney Emily Smarto said that because Baucum has been in jail for the past six months he is entitled to be released on nominal bond under the state’s speedy trial rules.
Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rita Hathaway rejected Smarto’s request.
“I think he is a danger to the community,” Hathaway said. “I cannot risk having witnesses intimidated in that case (against Holt) by Mr. Baucum.”
Police contend Baucum obtained a copy of a statement from a witnesses against Holt and posted a picture of that document on his Facebook page with a threat.
Detective Ray Dupilka testified Thursday that Baucum also attempted to find information about other witnesses expected to testify against Holt.
Holt’s trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection Oct. 28; testimony is slated to start Nov. 4.
Assistant District Attorney Anthony Iannamorelli said Baucum has a record of convictions that date back to 1989, including for burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, aggravated and simple assault and other offenses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Minnesota.
Baucum, following a jury trial last summer, was acquitted of strangulation and witness intimidation against a woman who police said gave them information about Holt’s whereabouts following Shaw’s murder. Holt was eventually arrested and charged with first-degree murder after a four-day manhunt that followed the fatal shooting.
Baucum is being held in jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond. His trial in the pending witness intimidation case is scheduled to begin Dec. 2. Hathaway said Baucum can refile his request for a lowered bond after Holt’s trial is completed next month.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .