Pa. murder trial likely won't start until next year

May 01, 2011|By DON AINES |
  • Marcus Wallace
Marcus Wallace

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The trial of a man accused of killing his 70-year-old mother will likely not take place until 2012 and could take up to three weeks, according to discussions Friday between the prosecution, defense and Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Walsh.

Marcus Wallace, 40, could face the death penalty if convicted in the death of Consuela Wallace. She suffered a depressed skull fracture when someone forced their way into her Hamilton Township home on Dec. 10, 2009, according to court records. She died of her injuries in February 2010.

District Attorney Matthew D. Fogal and Public Defender Michael Toms met in court with Walsh on Friday to discuss trial issues and scheduling.

Asked by Walsh if he thought the trial could be held before the end of the year, Toms said “no,” citing another death-penalty case involving accused killer Jeffrey Eldon Miles Sr., set for January 2012.

“That case is further along procedurally,” Toms said of the Miles case.

Toms said the defense will have to see all the state’s evidence before it can line up its expert witnesses, including a mitigation witness to testify in case Wallace is convicted of first-degree murder.

Because Wallace is from the Pittsburgh area, researching his background for mitigation in the penalty phase of the case “could take several hundred hours.”

Fogal and Toms agreed that jury selection should take place at the time of the trial and not at the beginning of a trial term, as is done for most cases.

Asked if he had any questions, Wallace, wearing handcuffs and leg irons, pulled a stack of papers from a large envelope and introduced his own motions, including one to quash the notice of aggravating circumstances the state filed in order to seek the death penalty.

Wallace said he had more than 20 motions, including ones for dismissal of the charges, change of venue, objections to the collection of his DNA and the DNA analysis.

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