PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A pizza shop owner spent a night in jail for being a “self-centered jerk.”
Some see it is as a privilege to serve on jury duty, but some don’t and will do just about anything to get out of it.
That’s what Judge David Cashman says happened in his courtroom at the Allegheny County Courthouse on Monday during jury selection in the homicide trial of Michael Lapaglia.
“It started in the afternoon Monday when he asked the assistant district attorney, who was part of the team in picking the jury, how long he had to be there, and she told him that jury selection could take all day and he had to be there until approximately 4:30 [p.m.],” said Judge Cashman. “He then told her directly, ‘That’s a waste of my [expletive] time.’”
That potential juror is 35-year-old Robert Cenci Jr. of McCandless. He’s the owner of a pizza restaurant in Wexford. He didn’t want to talk about what landed him in jail overnight.
Cenci is accused of disrupting the jury process in an effort to ensure he would not get picked – beginning with questionnaire form all potential jurors are required to fill out.
“’Would you be more likely to believe the testimony of a police officer or any other law enforcement officer because of his or her job.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Why?’ ‘I don’t have to tell you.’ As I said to him yesterday, a third grader could have figured out what he was trying to do,” Judge Cashman.
Judge Cashman says Cenci also talked to the defendant.
“First thing he did, he pointed to the defendant and said, ‘You did this, didn’t you?’” the judge said.
After spending the night in the Allegheny County Jail, sheriff’s deputies brought Cenci back to the courtroom and that’s when he apologized for his behavior.
“That’s when he made his statement. He’s not that type of person,” Judge Cashman said.
Judge Cashman says he accepted the apology and released Cenci, but says he’s not buying it.
“I wouldn’t put him on a jury if a dog was the defendant,” he said.
Lapaglia is accused of murdering John Parkes, 59, in July of 2014. Parkes was engaged to Lapaglia’s aunt.