The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

August 19, 2013

DA to seek continuance in prosecution of Campbell

Possible feds’ role, absent witnesses complicate cases

(Continued)

MERCER COUNTY — Last week, the judge denied a written request for the continuance, but Kochems said he plans to state his case today in court.

If it’s again denied, he intends to ask those charges be dismissed with prejudice, meaning they won’t be refiled, even if the feds don’t indict Campbell, Kochems said.

“We think it’s worth doing,” he said.

Campbell’s lawyer, J. Jarrett K. Whalen, said he’s prepared to argue the case at trial.

“We’re ready to go; it’s a fairly straight-forward case,” Whalen said.

That said, the sum of the cases against Campbell and Stewart are anything but straight-forward.

In June, Campbell was sentenced to 3 to 18 months for simple assault and 6 months probation for theft in connection with an attack on another inmate at Mercer County Jail.

A month earlier, on May 16, Campbell was acquitted of two gun charges, making terroristic threats and simple assault, in connection with a Dec. 18, 2011, incident on East Budd Street in Sharon.

In that case, a Sharon woman was terrorized by a young man who pulled a gun on her after tossing a half-eaten stromboli at her when she was walking home from work.

Campbell wasn’t that man, a jury said when they rendered a not-guilty verdict.

A week after that trial, on May 21, Stewart was found guilty of two counts of robbery and a charge of making terroristic threats for the Dec. 29 robbery of a Sharon man outside his King Street home.

These cases have come to court even as defense attorneys and prosecutors prepare for the trials of the men in connection with Basilone’s murder.

There have been three court appearances where a plea deal appeared to be reached on the murder charges that ultimately fell apart, spurring Mercer County Common Pleas Court President Judge Thomas R. Dobson to order on Aug. 2 that no pleas will be accepted other than second-degree murder with life imprisonment and that plea must be entered before Dobson, according to a court filing on Aug. 5.

That’s fair, Whalen said.

“You have to feel bad for the family (Basilone’s). They keep being dragged into court for no reason,” Whalen said.

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