Judge Denies Mistrial For Clairton Officer Shooting Suspects
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Defense attorneys for two men accused in the shooting of a Clairton Police officer in 2011 had their requests for a mistrial denied Wednesday.
Emilio Rivera and Marcus Andrejco are charged with shooting Clairton Police Officer Jim Kuzak during a home invasion in April of 2011.
Defense attorneys asked Judge Edward Borkowski to declare a mistrial after the woman, who was the victim of an alleged home invasion and sexual assault, allegedly changed her story from previous pre-trial testimony and identified Andrejco as the gunman.
She also identified others who were exonerated.
“Four or five different people as being involved in this case and we think her testimony will be found to be worth what it’s worth,” Ralph Karsh, defense attorney, said.
Defense attorneys claim prosecutors blindsided them when she made the claim on Tuesday and they allege prosecutors had a meeting with the witness that the defense was not made aware of.
“It’s our position that the commonwealth withheld evidence,” Paul Gettleman, defense attorney, said. “This lady has maintained all along that she could only identify the longhaired guy and could never identify the shooter.”
“They had a conference with her and she remembers being asked who the shooter was and that never was disclosed to us and it sort of skewed our opening arguments to the jury,” he continued.
The judge brought the witness to the stand outside the presence of the jury to ask what she told investigators in her latest meeting with them.
Investigators testified outside the presence of the jury that they also heard her testimony for the first time on Tuesday. At that point, the judge denied the mistrial motions.
Since the mistrial was denied, her cross examination focused on the people she accused early on.
Regarding one of them she said, “I realized when I saw him on the news this was the wrong dude.”
And regarding the new identification of Andrejco, a defense attorney said: “You’ve always described up until yesterday he was a short-haired man. But now it’s a long-haired man?”
Kuzak was responding to a 911 call, when he was shot. He now uses a wheelchair, but is undergoing intense physical therapy.
He is expected to testify at some point during the trial.