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Trial Delayed For Man Accused In 14-Year-Old Murder Case

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Paul Martino Paul Martino
Paul joined KDKA-TV in 1984 as a general assignment reporter and later...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The trial for a man accused of murdering a Bethel Park woman 14 years ago has been delayed.

John Minch is accused of killing his ex-wife Melissa Groot in a bathtub inside of her home in 1999.

A jury was already chosen for Minch’s trial, which was set to begin on Tuesday. But now Minch won’t face a jury until November.

That’s because prosecutors have uncovered some new evidence in the murder of Melissa Groot 14 years ago. The evidence was apparently in a filing cabinet in the Bethel Park Police station.

The new evidence consists of 30-pages of material – police reports, letters, photographs, information about an anonymous call claiming Groot’s sister was involved in the murder and an FBI profile that points to someone other than Minch as the likely killer.

When they revealed the new evidence in court Thursday morning, an angry Judge Jeffrey Manning asked prosecutors: “The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office can’t get a local police department to provide every piece of evidence until three days before trial?”

In a statement from District Attorney Stephen Zappala’s office, a spokesman says, “We immediately notified the court upon learning of the additional evidence. It is disappointing that the start of the trial has been pushed back. We do not believe that (the new evidence) changes the merits of the case.”

Minch, who is defending himself, says he’s had nothing but trouble in getting evidence from the D.A.’s office over the past four years.

He asked for and received a delay in his trial so he can review the new evidence.

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