More arrests made during homicide trial
Lycoming County Sheriff Mark Lusk revealed Wednesday that about a half dozen people were arrested for minor offenses related to disorderly conduct and disruptions in the courthouse during the homicide trial of Raymaar Alford.
Security was tight during the more-than-weeklong jury trial that resulted in a guilty verdict of first-degree murder for the defendant.
Each day, Lycoming County Sheriff Department personnel and other law enforcement officials could be found in and around the second-floor courtroom to provide security and to respond to incidents.
And, their presence was more than needed, according to Lusk.
He noted that those arrested were people attending the trial in support of either the defendant or the victim, Kevan Connolly.
“We had a number of arrests,” he said. “We cited both sides.”
As it turned out, law enforcement officials were tested early on when a skirmish broke out following the trial’s first day outside the courtroom.
One woman, Mekia Connolly, of Upper Darby, a relative of the victim, was arrested and arraigned before Judge Allen P. Page III, who fined her $221.
Others arrested later during the trial were not identified.
Lusk said it’s important to maintain a strong presence during a court proceeding such as a homicide trial.
“It’s the nature of the beast,” he said. “People get very emotional.”
The safety and security of people throughout the courthouse must be maintained, he added.
In addition to court proceedings, other business is conducted in the building, with plenty of people working and visiting the courthouse throughout the day.
Lusk declined to say how many of his own department’s personnel were working in the building during the trial. However, he noted that county constables and detectives, state police and city police also were either readily available or on the scene as well.
The courtroom was full of spectators during the trial’s first two days.
However, Lycoming County Judge Nancy Butts limited the number of people who could sit in on proceedings at the start of the third day of deliberations.
On Wednesday, the judge warned courtroom spectators to remain quiet once the jury’s verdict was given.
And, with the exception of the hushed single word of a woman’s voice saying “yes” from the prosecution side of the courtroom when the guilty verdict of first-degree murder was issued, no other sounds in the courtroom were heard.