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Arraignment in homicide case delayed

January 07, 2009|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The mandatory arraignment of a Chambersburg man charged with criminal homicide was delayed Wednesday in Franklin County Court to allow V'Cetres Buckner to find an attorney certified to handle a death penalty case.

Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom told Judge Carol Van Horn that a notice of aggravating circumstances was filed in the case of Buckner, who is charged with the Aug. 6 shooting death of Timothy A. Short, 42, of Chambersburg.

Under Pennsylvania law, the filing of the notice is necessary in order for the prosecution to seek the death penalty.

The aggravating circumstance is that the killing was committed during the perpetration of a felony, Krom said. The Chambersburg Police Department charged Buckner, 18, with criminal homicide and felony robbery in Short's death.

Buckner also is charged separately with theft, receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy related to the theft of the gun police think was used to kill Short, according to court documents. Krom said another motion had been filed to try the cases as one in that they were part of "one continuing criminal episode."

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Because the death penalty could be sought if Buckner is convicted of first-degree murder, he is required to be represented by legal counsel certified to try a capital punishment case. Attorney Tim Barrouk of Harrisburg, Pa., told Van Horn he would not be able to represent Buckner under the circumstances.

Van Horn continued the arraignment to next Wednesday to allow Buckner to find private counsel or apply for representation by the Public Defender's Office.

Buckner was charged with Short's death on Aug. 17, a day after a stolen .40-caliber handgun was found in a woman's car during a traffic stop. The woman said the gun belonged to her boyfriend, convicted felon Derrick Wimberley, who told police he bought the weapon on Aug. 14 from two men for $300, one of whom he identified as Buckner.

At the time the handgun was sold, police had the South Hackberry Drive house where the transaction took place under surveillance, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

On Aug. 4, two days before Short was killed, the handgun had been reported stolen from the vehicle of a Chambersburg man, police said.

Detective Scott Mummert testified at Buckner's preliminary hearing last year that Buckner admitted to the shooting, but that the gun went off as he was taking Short's wallet. Mummert testified that Buckner said Short approached him earlier to buy drugs and that Buckner told Short to meet him on Hemlock Circle.

Buckner's interview was videotaped, Mummert testified.

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