Pa. man's bail hearing stalled

September 20, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A bail hearing for a Chambersburg man charged with criminal homicide was continued Monday when the prosecution was unable to introduce testimony about a fight last week at Franklin County Prison.

Timothy R. Ross, 26, of 280 Miller St., was jailed March 2 when he was charged with the March 1 shooting death of Drake Luckett, 34, of 217 Linden Ave., at a Chambersburg bar. Attorneys David R. Yoder and Thomas S. Diehl introduced a consolidated motion to reinstate bail on an unrelated cocaine delivery charge and set bail on the criminal homicide charge.

Yoder suggested to Judge Richard J. Walsh that he set bond in the amount of $100,000. Yoder said recently that bail cannot be denied in a criminal homicide case unless the prosecution is seeking the death penalty, which it is not in Ross' case.

Ross testified Monday he would live with his father in the Chambersburg area if granted bail. "Full-time job, curfew. He's got a lot of stipulations," Ross said about conditions his father would impose.


He said he had lived in Franklin County most of his life and listed a number of relatives in the area.

"And none of them are here today," Assistant District Attorney David W. Rahauser noted on cross-examination.

When Ross said he had a previous conviction for an unarmed robbery, for which he served five years in state prison, Rahauser said, "You did the whole five years ... even though you had a two-year minimum" sentence.

Ross made bail on a Jan. 27 charge for delivery, but has been unable to get bail on the criminal homicide charge because the bail on the drug charge was revoked.

"Mr. Ross' bail was revoked on the delivery charge for failing to live as a law-abiding citizen" based on the criminal homicide charge, Rahauser said.

"Obviously, if Mr. Ross can't live as a law-abiding citizen in Franklin County Prison, he can't live as a law-abiding citizen in an outside environment," Rahauser said.

Ross, who is white, testified he was "sucker-punched" Tuesday by a black inmate. He denied he was involved in any murder, but said the inmate attacked him "because he indicated I killed a black man."

Rahauser tried to introduce testimony from the investigating officer, Pennsylvania State Trooper Bradley C. Ford, but Yoder objected that Ford was not a witness to the assault and his testimony would be hearsay.

"We're not proving the truth of the matter asserted ... only to the extent that he was involved," Rahauser said. State police have filed no charges in the altercation.

After a recess Walsh sustained Yoder's objection, saying he could not find any exception to the hearsay rule. Rahauser then asked for the continuance.

Walsh scheduled the hearing to resume Monday, Sept. 27, at 3 p.m. Both sides are expected to call witnesses to the altercation. Rahauser said the other inmate was transferred to a state prison Friday to serve a sentence on a drug conviction.

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