A jury Thursday found gun-toting dope dealer Hyson E. Frederick guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary, theft and criminal trespassing after he held an elderly couple at gunpoint in their Ross Street home on Dec. 11, 2011.
While no physical evidence was found at the scene of the crime, First Assistant District Attorney Ken Osokow introduced multiple pieces of circumstantial evidence that proved to the jury Frederick's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Jewelry stolen from victim Brenda Ginther and a sawed-off shotgun matching the description of the one used in the robbery were found in Frederick's home, according to testimony. Frederick's phone records showed frequent activity during the period leading up to the crime but no activity during the period during which the robbery took place, Detective Steve Sorage testified.
"Is it just a coincidence that from 11:15 p.m. until a little after 1 a.m. there's no phone calls?" Osokow asked the jury during closing arguments. "What caused the non-usage? The involvement in this crime."
Witness testimony also implicated Frederick in the robbery. Anthony Rudinski, a heroin addict who frequently purchased drugs from Frederick, testified that he drove Frederick and two others to an alley near Ross Street and waited while the crime took place. The defense alleged that Rudinski lied about Frederick's involvement in an attempt to win leniency from the Commonwealth on unrelated charges.
"(Rudinski) has 31 open felony counts," Frederick's defense attorney Julien Allatt said during closing statements.
"Everything (Rudinski) tells you is corroborated in one way or another," Osokow argued to the jury.
Osokow poked holes in Frederick's defense that he simply was holding the sawed-off shotgun implicated in the crime for Rudinski while he was in rehab. Since Rudinski owed Frederick money for drugs, Osokow asked the jury to consider why Frederick didn't attempt to sell or trade Rudinski's firearm to recoup his financial loss. On the other hand, Allatt argued that Rudinski's indebtedness was all the more reason for him to fabricate a story against Frederick.
The prosecution brought to light Frederick's financial troubles during the period surrounding the Dec. 2011 robbery. In January 2012, Frederick was served with a citation for contempt of child support, according to Osokow. His history of employment during that period also was erratic, according to Frederick's financial records obtained by Osokow. Allatt rebutted by saying Frederick's wife, an exotic dancer, "makes a fair amount of cash."
Despite the victims' inability to see any identifying marks on their assailants, who were dressed in black and wearing masks, the circumstantial evidence was enough to convince the jury of Frederick's guilt.