The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

August 4, 2012

Basilone murder trial delayed

Judge grants defense request

FARRELL — The defense attorney for the Farrell man accused of shooting and killing William Basilone Jr. asked for and received two more months to work on the case before it goes to trial.

Joshua Stewart, who will turn 19 this month, appeared in court Friday morning with his lawyer Dan Davis, who asked Judge Christopher J. St. John for an extension to file pretrial motions.

St. John granted the request and pushed the case back to the October trial term.

Stewart is charged with first- and second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Basilone at about 7:35 p.m. Dec. 30 on the sidewwalk outside his namesake bar at 708 Roemer Blvd., Farrell.

According to prosecutors, Stewart shot the 58-year-old bar owner at least five times.

His alleged accomplice, Devine Campbell, who turns 18 at the end of August, is charged as an adult with second-degree murder.

DNA samples have been taken from both suspects, who also face charges in several robberies in the Shenango Valley.

Mercer County District Attorney Robert G. Kochems said Stewart’s cases have not been consolidated and that reports show shell casings from Basilone’s slaying match ones found in a robbery. Stewart has not been charged in that robbery.

Davis said he hadn’t finished watching surveillance footage related to the charges against Stewart due to computer problems and his team is still awaiting results of testing on a number of items submitted as evidence, such as the bullets recovered from Basilone’s body, shell casings and clothing.

“Until we get those items back, I don’t have what I need to file pretrial motions,” Davis said.

Campbell’s case has been continued for at least two months for psychological testing, St. John said.

Both men also face two counts each of robbery and conspiracy in the Basilone case.

Stewart is also charged with two other robberies in the days before Basilone’s killing and Campbell in one.

According to Herald files, Stewart is charged with robbing the Wild Game Inn in Farrell on Dec. 28 and robbing a man at gunpoint Dec. 29 on South Oakland Avenue in Sharon.

Both first- and second-degree murder carry sentences of life in prison and each of the felony robbery and conspiracy counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Kochems is not seeking the death penalty.

Both men are in Mercer County Jail. There is no bond for homicide cases in Pennsylvania.

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