The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

May 14, 2013

Basilone murder trial start is delayed until summer

FARRELL — One of the teens accused of killing popular Farrell bar owner William Basilone Jr. will be a twentysomething if there are any more delays in the proceeding against him.

Basilone was shot to death Dec. 30, 2011, outside his eponymous Farrell bar on Roemer Boulevard.

Four days after the killing, police charged Joshua Stewart, who will turn 20 Aug. 15, and Devine Campbell, who turns 19 on Aug. 24.

Both men lived in Farrell and have been in jail since January 2012. They're facing charges in four cases that are being prosecuted separately but are part of a series of robberies in the waning days of 2011.

The legal machinations of prosecuting those cases have spun a tangled web because of a changing cast of lawyers and prosecutors assigned to the case.

On Monday, Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher J. St. John spent more than two hours trying to sort it out so the men can be tried for the crimes they're accused of committing.

While the lawyers and the judge powwowed in private, Stewart sat in the jury box of the courtroom and talked with two women who came to watch the proceedings while Campbell stared ahead most of the time, seemingly pondering the portrait of justice that looms above St. John's bench.

"We had this thing all cranked up to go tomorrow," St. John said before approving continuing the case to the July trial term.

"I'm really reluctant to continue the case, but I think we have to continue the case," he said.

Several issues were raised during the hearing Monday, which was held as jury selection for both men's murder trials were set to start Tuesday.

Stewart is charged with first- and second-degree murder and is the alleged gunman who authorities say shot the 58-year-old Basilone at least five times. Prosecutors say Campbell was with Stewart at the time and conspired with him to commit the crime.

Both men also face two counts each of robbery and conspiracy in the case, although Basilone wasn't robbed during the shooting and had $440 in cash, credit cards and a gold ring on him when he was killed.

A third teen, Tylor Kalenic, formerly of Farrell, has cooperated with prosecutors and hasn't been charged.

James Goodwin, who is the latest lawyer appointed by the court to represent Stewart, has asked that Kalenic's DNA be compared against a sample on a hoodie that's part of the evidence in the case.

Waiting for those results is the main reason for the delay in the trials, which also allows for lawyers for both sides to file further court motions to fine-tune their cases.

District Attorney Robert G. Kochems wanted St. John to order defense lawyers to turn over letters that may or may not exist that could add a wrinkle to the trial if they're used as a gambit by the defense.

These letters have been alluded to by prosecution witness Cedric Boyd.

He is serving a sentence in Mercer County Jail on unrelated sexual abuse charges and has been working as what St. John has previously described as a "listening post" for the government.

The content of the alleged letters wasn't explicitly detailed during the hearing, but Kochems said they could be damaging to his case.

Goodwin and J. Jarrett K. Whalen, Campbell's attorney, deny their existence.

Depending on their content, if a letter or other evidence exists that questions the involvement of any of the participants in the case, it puts prosecutors in an "awkward" position, St. John said.

"I appreciate that," the judge said. "That's a horrible position to be in."

But he denied the motion.

The cases are slated to be on the July trial list. None of the lawyers involved offered comments after the hearing and both men were returned to jail.


Text Only
Local News
  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014

  • GC pair not hurt in accident injuring 2

    Two drivers were taken to a hospital after an accident at the intersection of state routes 965 and 173 in Worth Township, police said.

    July 21, 2014

  • WaterFire crowds WaterFire doused

    Sharon’s WaterFire wasn’t lacking either of its elements on Saturday. There was steady, day-long rain but the day concluded with the Shenango River ablaze.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Starved’ boy released from hospital

    A 7-year-old boy allegedly starved and beaten by his mother is out of the hospital and ordered out of his Greenville home by Mercer County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

    July 20, 2014

  • WaterFire walking tour Time traveling

    A group of more 50 people walked between the raindrops Saturday during an historical tour of downtown Sharon during the city’s WaterFire celebration.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story

  • News briefs from July 19, 2014

    Michigan man charged with assaulting girl here

    Sharon man charged with raping woman

    July 19, 2014

  • For sale Realty transfer tax hike headed for ballot

    Sharon voters will be deciding through a referendum whether city council can raise the realty transfer tax. Council gave first reading Thursday to an ordinance that phrases the question that will be printed on the November ballot.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bella recovering Vet: Dog lucky to be alive, should survive

    Although a veterinarian said an underweight dog found Thursday with a gruesome neck wound was lucky to be alive, her prognosis for recovery is good.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Alleged hit-run driver arrested

    Sharon police said Friday afternoon they had arrested a man believed to have driven a vehicle that struck an 11-year-old boy Thursday and left the scene.

    July 19, 2014

  • Boy ‘was being starved’

    A 7-year-old Greenville boy described as looking like a human skeleton had been starved and beaten by his mother for a year, authorities are saying.

    July 19, 2014

  • Corruption case puts ex-youth leader in rehab program

    The former commander of the local Civil Air Patrol squadron has been admitted into a diversionary program to resolve a criminal case, but the conditions of the program all but forbid his involvement with CAP, his attorney said.

    July 18, 2014

  • GACT’s ‘Steel Magnolias’ opens tonight at Thiel

    Beauty parlor gossip, southern drawls and big hair may sound out of place for Mercer County, but it’s very much a real scene in Thiel College’s William Robinson Theater.

    July 18, 2014

  • Police seek hit-and-run driver who struck boy

    A boy riding a Mongoose bike on Second Avenue in Sharon Thursday evening was struck straight on by a truck whose driver never hit the brakes or looked back, witnesses said.

    July 18, 2014