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Pa. man gets lawyers 3 months after charge

May 20, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Almost three months after being charged with criminal homicide, a Chambersburg man has been appointed outside counsel by Franklin County President Judge John R. Walker.

Walker on Thursday appointed David R. Yoder and Thomas S. Diehl to represent Timothy J. Ross, 25, of 280 Miller St. He has been charged by Chambersburg police with the March 1 shooting death of Drake Luckett, 34, of 217 Linden Ave.

Ross was arrested early on the morning of March 2. According to the affidavit of probable cause, Luckett was shot as he opened the West Catherine Street door of Dave's Tavern, 401 S. Main St.

Ross, who has been held in Franklin County Prison since his arrest, has yet to have a preliminary hearing. Yoder and the Franklin County District Attorney's Office said Thursday that no new date has been set for a hearing since one was postponed two weeks ago.

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"I'm looking forward to the challenge," said Yoder, an assistant public defender whose last day with that office is Friday, May 28.

The Public Defender's Office had originally been appointed to represent Ross. Yoder said he and Diehl were appointed to the case because of "the case burden on the Public Defender's Office, given the number of criminal homicide cases they are already handling."

Under Pennsylvania law, the state has 180 days to bring an incarcerated person to trial, according to Yoder. That deadline is often extended if the prosecution or defense can present "reasonable justification" for delays, Yoder said.

The police affidavit of probable cause said several witnesses saw Luckett and Ross arguing before the shooting. Ross left the bar moments before the shooting, which occurred when Luckett opened the door.

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