Homicide trial inches closer

Raymarr Alford and Qu Mar Moore, the two young city men accused of shooting and killing Kevan James Connelly in Flanigan Park last July, are getting closer to a trial date. Slowly.

The prosecution and defense hashed out some pretrial issues in a hearing on Friday afternoon at the Lycoming County Courthouse, the third such hearing in the past month.

Defense attorneys Donald Martino and Nicole Spring requested that identifying information of eyewitnesses, particularly addresses, be provided the defense, a request made in the last hearing on April 19.

All identifying information in documentation given the defense lawyers was blacked out before.

“Whenever the Commonwealth provides discovery in any case it redacts personal identifying information of victims and witnesses. This hasn’t been treated any different than any other case,” said district attorney Eric Linhardt.

“What’s the big deal with giving out the information?” asked Judge Nancy Butts. “It’s going to kill me if I have to come in every couple weeks to deal with these micromanaged issues. I can’t think in 18 years of doing this job I’ve had to deal with so many of these issues – I didn’t envision my job in these major cases as doing this kind of work.”

The parties also argued a motion, filed by the two defendants, to try Alford and Moore separately, or as it’s known, a severance.

“The defense cases will be antagonistic,” Spring said.

“The DA is opposed to severing when they’re antagonistic. That’s more reason to join the cases,” said assistant district attorney Kenneth Osokow. “Merely because one’s fingering the other, that’s when justice might spring out, when they’re telling different stories.”

Another request of the defense was that the state should provide a number of its theories of the crime, including the specifics of the guns involved.

“The testimony regarding the number of shots and who fired what shots, the different witnesses contradict each other,” Martino said.

“Whether it was a .22 or a .38, if one of the witnesses is wrong it doesn’t mean (the defendants) didn’t have the gun that was fired.,” Osokow argued.

In an April 9 hearing, the defense argued a motion to suppress the identification of Alford and Moore by the victim’s brother, Braheem Connelly. They claimed that the photo lineup he was shown was too suggestive, and also argued that Connelly had not identified the two defendants at first look and talked to other people before he made the positive i.d.

Butts handed down a ruling denying that motion by the defense last week.