This article was originally published on GoErie.com by Madeleine O’Neill on February 14, 2019
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office is objecting to a homicide defendant’s request to have additional testing conducted on marijuana he smoked before the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend.
The defendant, 24-year-old James M. Gilbert, suggested in a pretrial motion that contaminated marijuana could have caused him to have a psychotic episode in the hours before the death of his girlfriend, 20-year-old Marinda Matasowski. Gilbert’s court-appointed lawyer in the homicide case, Thomas Brasco, asked a judge to order testing on the marijuana.
But in a response filed last week, District Attorney Jack Daneri wrote that the marijuana has already been tested for the presence of other drugs. Testing by the Pennsylvania State Police crime lab found no other drug substances, Daneri wrote.
The results of the testing were provided to the defense, Daneri wrote.
Gilbert faces charges including homicide and aggravated assault in Matasowski’s death. Daneri has said he will seek a first-degree murder conviction, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
Daneri is also objecting to the defense’s request for Gilbert to receive a psychiatric and competency evaluation at a state mental hospital. The defense claimed in its motion that Gilbert may suffer from “several mental health conditions.”
“The Commonwealth believes before an exam is ordered, defense should be required to present evidence which substantiates these claims,” Daneri wrote in the response.
Erie County Judge Joseph M. Walsh has scheduled a hearing on the motions for March 20.