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Psych exam likely for Pa. homicide suspect

March 19, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Public Defender Michael Toms says he will ask for a psychiatric examination of a man charged with criminal homicide in the February shooting death of a Chambersburg man.

The preliminary hearing for Juan Johnson, 24, no fixed address, was continued for a second time Tuesday in Franklin County Central Court. Johnson is charged in the Feb. 1 shooting death of Gregory Jermaine Street, 24, of 308 E. Washington St., whom police in Chambersburg said was killed in the borough, although his body was found in a stolen vehicle in Harrisburg, Pa., the following day.

Toms said he will file a motion in Franklin County Court later this week requesting a psychiatric exam for Johnson.

"That's standard operating procedure in a case of this significance," Toms said.

Another issue to be resolved is whether Toms' office has a potential conflict of interest in the case. Street was being represented by the Public Defender's Office in a criminal case at the time of his death, Toms said.

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Assistant District Attorney Jeremiah Zook said the prosecution was in agreement with granting the continuance for the examination and to resolve the possible conflict of interest.

"In any case like this, it's important to have these issues decided early on," Zook said.

No decision has been made as to whether to seek the death penalty, Zook said. A notice of aggravating circumstances necessary to seek the death penalty has to be filed before the defendant's mandatory arraignment.

Johnson was apprehended March 6 by a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force. He is being held without bail in Franklin County Jail.

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