Westmoreland judge denies bid to have Monessen man’s case dismissed
A Westmoreland County judge Tuesday rejected a defense bid to have the case dismissed against a Monessen man charged with conspiracy in connection with a 2017 shooting.
Defense attorney Ryan Tutera argued intentional misconduct by prosecutors caused the premature ending to the attempted murder and conspiracy trial last month of Rayshawn Ford and Joseph “Jo Jo” Heath. As a result, a new trial should be barred based on double jeopardy claims, he said.
Ford, 23, is in jail awaiting a potential retrial for two conspiracy charges related to his role in the June 25, 2017 shooting of Timothy “Boo” Kershaw, who was injured but survived the attack that occurred on a Monessen street.
Last month Westmoreland County Judge Christopher Feliciani declared a mistrial just before Kershaw was set to testify. Feliciani said prosecutors failed to turn over new statements the Kershaw made to police days before the trial started.
“There is no evidence it was intentional to provoke a mistrial,” Feliciani ruled.
Ford is being held in jail in lieu of $100,000 bail as he awaits a decision by prosecutors as to whether the case will be retried. Assistant District Attorney Jackie Knupp said a decision is expected within the next four months.
Heath, 29, of Monessen, is facing 14 charges including attempted murder. He was released on bail last month.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .