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Pa. man charged in triple slaying in court

trial could be held late this year

Kevin M. Cleeves faces numerous charges in shooting of his estranged wife, her boyfriend and his mother

January 24, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Kevin M. Cleeves
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CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The trial for a Waynesboro, Pa., man accused of fatally shooting three people in Quincy Township, Pa., last summer could be held late this year.

Kevin M. Cleeves, 36, is charged with three counts of criminal homicide, kidnapping of a minor, unlawful restraint of a minor, two counts of illegal possession of a firearm, interference with custody and endangering the welfare of a child.

The Franklin County (Pa.) District Attorney’s Office has filed the necessary paperwork that would allow it to seek the death penalty at trial.

Pennsylvania State Police allege Cleeves shot his estranged wife, Brandi N. (Killingsworth) Cleeves, in the driveway of her boyfriend’s Pa. 997 home on July 27, 2012. They say he also shot the boyfriend, Vincent L. Santucci Jr., and Santucci’s mother, Rosemary Holma, before fleeing the state with his daughter.

Cleeves appeared in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on Thursday, but he told Judge Shawn Meyers that he did not feel he needed to be present.

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“I trust my attorneys to represent me,” Cleeves said.

Thursday’s status conference served to establish a preliminary schedule of how the case will proceed. The judge, defense attorneys and prosecutors discussed holding Cleeves’ trial in late 2013 or early 2014.

Meyers said he needs more scheduling information from forensic psychiatrist Dr. Neil Blumberg, who is evaluating Cleeves’ competency and criminal responsibility. A mitigation specialist will be assigned to the case to gather information used during the potential penalty phase of a trial.

Meyers also will be identifying a death penalty-certified attorney to be appointed to the defense team. Public Defender Mike Toms said the choices could be few in the region due to conflicts.

“There are a number who already have death penalty cases they’re working on,” he said.

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