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Franklin Co. homicide cases delayed

December 20, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Two men charged in separate homicides had their cases delayed Friday as the call of the January trial list was held before Judge Douglas W. Herman in the Franklin County Jail.

Scott Nathan North, 27, of Chambersburg, had his case continued until the March trial term to allow for a Feb. 2 court hearing. North, charged with the August 2006 beating death of Carl Ryder of Amberson, Pa., has filed motions to suppress evidence in the case, Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom said.

Also scheduled to appear before Herman was Juan Johnson, 24, of Chambersburg, charged in the Feb. 1 shooting death of Gregory Jermaine Street, 24, of Chambersburg. Assistant District Attorney Jeremiah Zook said Johnson's case was rescheduled for Dec. 31 after one of his attorneys was unable to be in court Friday.

North was an escapee from the jail, having walked away Aug. 2, 2006, from a work-release assignment at a business in Shippensburg, Pa. On Aug. 11, he was taken into custody after a high-speed chase in Huntingdon and Mifflin counties, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

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North was driving the car of the 43-year-old Ryder, who once had employed him, police said. Carl Ryder's body was found Aug. 16 along a rural road in Huntingdon County, police said.

An autopsy determined Ryder had died of blunt force trauma, police said.

The Chambersburg Police Department charged Johnson with shooting Street in the head as Street sat in the passenger seat of his girlfriend's vehicle. Johnson then drove the vehicle, with the body inside, to Harrisburg, Pa., where it was found Feb. 2.

Johnson remained at large until March, when he was picked up in the Philadelphia area.

Johnson also is charged with robbery and theft in Street's killing, and a notice of aggravating circumstance has been filed in the case, Zook said. The notice is required in order for the prosecution to seek the death penalty, he said.

In recent months, a small courtroom in the jail has been used for trial list appearances by incarcerated defendants. The judge, court and corrections officers and attorneys are in the concrete block room as defendants are brought in one by one.

While open to the public, the gallery only is big enough for about a dozen spectators, separated from the courtroom by a concrete block-and-glass partition. Access to and from the spectator area is from an exterior door to the jail controlled by correctional officers.

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