PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The day before Pittsburgh Officer Calvin Hall was laid to rest — detectives arrested, charged and arraigned a man in the officer’s murder.
But the case against 30-year-old Christian Bey remains shrouded in secrecy.
The court file and criminal complaint are under seal, and Friday’s preliminary hearing for Bey was canceled.
To outside observers like criminal lawyer Lee Rothman, that very likely means one thing.
“It seems to suggest to me that there is a grand jury who is listening to evidence being presented to see if there is sufficient evidence — probable cause evidence — to hold this young man for trial in the crime of criminal homicide,” Rothman said.
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Bey did not leave his cell Friday in the Allegheny County Jail, where he’s being held without bail.
The District Attorney’s Office still will not confirm the charges against Bey, but a court calendar lists them as criminal homicide, possession of an illegal weapon, possession of a weapon without a license and possession of a gun with an altered manufacturer’s number.
Rothman said the sealing of the evidence behind those charges and the move to cancel the preliminary hearing allows the district attorney to present witnesses before a grand jury in secrecy and seek an indictment against Bey.
“The power of the grand jury is that that is done in secret. It is done in a non-adversarial process, meaning that there is no confrontation, and it will protect the anonymity and the safety of these witnesses,” Rothman said.
An order sealing the case signed by Common Pleas Judge Jill Rangos states that the file will remain sealed “until further order of court.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has filed a motion to unseal it — saying the case, “represents a matter of the highest public importance.”