Bail set under Pa. material witness law

March 30, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County Judge Douglas W. Herman on Monday set bail at $750,000 under Pennsylvania's material witness law to ensure that a man who faces no charges is available to testify in an attempted homicide case.

Victor Luna Delgado, no fixed address, was being held in York (Pa.) County Prison on a detainer from the Department of Homeland Security ordering his deportation, Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom said.

She said her office filed a motion to delay his deportation until he can testify or give a videotaped deposition in the case of Paulino Zarate Luna, 35, no fixed address.


Luna is charged with attempted homicide, two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of simple assault and public drunkenness in a Jan. 10 assault on Roberto Morales, according to Washington Township police.

Morales, whose age and address were not listed in the affidavit of probable cause, was stabbed twice in the back, twice in the arm and once in the abdomen while at a home in the 15000 block of Buchanan Trail East, the affidavit said.

Krom told Herman that Delgado originally was charged with simple assault in the stabbing, but the charge was dismissed in January after authorities learned he was not involved in the assault on Morales.

Krom told the judge an Immigration and Naturalization Service official informed her, "The only way I was going to be able to keep Mr. Delgado in the United States was to have him held as a material witness."

Krom said that if Delgado is not ordered held as a material witness, or if he makes bond, he will be deported without testifying.

The case against Luna is scheduled for the May trial term. Herman ordered that Delgado be held through the term, which ends in early July.

A few weeks ago in Franklin County Court, prosecutors dropped charges against another illegal alien who had been held more than a year on retail theft and resisting arrest charges. In that case, it was done so he could be civilly committed to a mental-health facility and to clear the way for his deportation to Honduras.

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