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Jury selection set in homicide trial for man accused in shooting death of neighbor

Michael Harrigan is charged in the May 27 shooting death of Steven Wetzel

January 07, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxannmiller@comcast.net
  • Michael Harrigan
Michael Harrigan

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Dates have been set for jury selection and the trial of a Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., man charged with homicide in the shooting death of his neighbor.

Following a pretrial conference at the Franklin County Courthouse Friday, President Judge Douglas Herman set Feb. 7 as the date for jury selection for the trial of Michael Harrigan.

Herman said the trial could begin as early as the close of jury selection on Feb. 7 or Feb. 8 and conclude on Feb. 11.

Harrigan is charged in the May 27 shooting death of Steven Wetzel, 47, of Blue Ridge Avenue.

Wetzel was pronounced dead outside Harrigan's home at 13799 Blue Ridge Ave., at 2:06 a.m. on May 27.

Police said previously that the first officer responding to the neighborhood, near the Mason-Dixon Line in Blue Ridge Summit, saw a man in the roadway and determined he was dead.

Harrigan was interviewed by Washington Township officers and admitted during a recorded interview to shooting Wetzel with a shotgun, police alleged in the affidavit of probable cause.

In the affidavit, police allege that Harrigan told them the men were arguing before the early-morning shooting.

Police said they retrieved a shotgun from Harrigan's home.

Prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty because of  insufficient evidence of the aggravating circumstances needed to seek capital punishment.

Harrigan has entered a plea of not guilty.

Harrigan, who has been held in the Franklin County (Pa.) Jail without bail, walked into the courtroom wearing an orange jumpsuit, with his hands and feet cuffed together.

After he took his seat at the defendant's table, one of the three family members supporting Harrigan asked to speak to him before the start of the pretrial conference.

While the male family member stood behind a wooden barrier, separating him from Harrigan, he said in a quiet voice: "It's good to see you."

Harrigan maintained a blank look on his face.

On the other side of the courtroom, five people came to support the victim.

The five, wearing white T-shirts with a photograph on the front with  the words, "in loving memory of Steven," sat behind the prosecution.

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