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Jury seated for Pa. homicide trial

May 08, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Jury selection was held Monday in Franklin County Court for the trial next month of a Chambersburg man charged with criminal homicide.

Timothy J. Ross, 27, is scheduled to go on trial June 12 for the March 1, 1999, shooting of Drake Luckett, 34, of 217 Linden Ave., according to Assistant District Attorney David Rahauser.

The trial is scheduled to last three days, he said.

Luckett was shot in the chest as he left the West Catherine Street door of Dave's Tavern, 401 S. Main St., according to Chambersburg Borough Police records. Ross was taken into custody and charged the next day and has been held in Franklin County Prison without bond since.

"We expect to prove that this is a first-degree murder," Rahauser said in court after jury selection. The prosecution, however, is not seeking the death penalty, he said.

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"While the commonwealth may expect to prove first-degree murder, we expect the jury to listen carefully and critically to all the evidence and come back with a fair and just verdict," David Yoder, who is representing Ross with co-counsel Thomas S. Diehl, told the jury.

According to police records, Luckett had been involved in an argument with a man at the bar. The other man left the bar and a short time later Luckett opened the side door and was shot.

Police later recovered a .38-caliber handgun and a jacket in a nearby vacant lot, police records said.

Last month, Franklin Country Common Pleas Court Judge John R. Walker ruled that jailhouse statements Ross is alleged to have made to other inmates could be admitted at trial. The three inmates include Duane Ferguson of Chambersburg, who had been charged with intimidation of a witness in the case.

Ferguson had been charged with trying to coerce a relative at the bar that night not to testify against Ross, court records said. Ferguson, however, later began dating Luckett's former fiance and agreed to cooperate with police earlier this year, according to testimony at a March pre-trial hearing.

Rahauser said last month the witness intimidation charge against Ferguson will be dismissed in exchange for his cooperation.

The prosecution witness list has about a dozen names on it, Yoder said. He said the defense has not finalized its witness list and no decision has been made as to whether Ross will take the stand.

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