Often when the public hears of murder allegations, the automatic assumption is that the accused individual is guilty. However, the criminal justice system affords the due process of law to everyone accused of a crime, no matter how serious the allegation. Pennsylvania residents should keep in mind that everyone accused of a violent crime must be presumed innocent unless or until the prosecution can prove otherwise.
People accused of violent crimes should also be aware of the available defense options for achieving the best possible outcome.
In a murder case being heard in Luzerne County, a 20-year-old is accused of killing three individuals whose ages range from 15 to 21. The accused young man has told authorities that he was defending himself when the shootings occurred. Still, prosecutors have said they will pursue the death penalty.
The three alleged murders in Plymouth happened a day after another fatal shooting in Wilkes-Barre, and the 20-year-old defendant is also suspected in that incident. Attorneys for the defendant have asked that prosecutors not be allowed to discuss the Wilkes-Barre shooting with jurors because it isn't relevant to the Plymouth homicides. The defense attorneys have also asked that certain items of evidence be excluded from the trial.
It remains to be seen how the court will decide on the requests.
Clearly, the stakes are extremely high in this case. Pennsylvania residents facing murder or manslaughter charges have a right to defend against the allegations. What a defendant should not do is simply let the prosecution have its way. An effective defense strategy may lead to a favorable outcome in an already difficult situation.
Source: abc27.com, "Pa. triple murder defendant wants evidence tossed," Nov. 20, 2013