ERIE, Pa. — An Erie County jury will decide the case against 15-year-old Erie homicide defendant Derrys Sanders Jr.
Derrys Sanders Jr., 14, is led to his preliminary hearing Aug. 17, 2015
at the Erie County Courthouse.Sanders is charged with fatally shooting
18-year-old Jacob Pushinsky while trying to steal Pushinsky’s bike on
July 11. JACK HANRAHANERIE TIMES-NEWS
Erie County Senior Judge Shad Connelly has rejected a defense request to move the trial out of Erie County due to pretrial publicity.
Sanders’ lawyer, Gene Placidi, argued that media coverage of the case had been pervasive, inflammatory and prejudicial and had ruined Sanders’ chance to receive a fair trial in Erie County on charges that he fatally shot 18-year-old Jacob Pushinsky during a robbery in July. Sanders, who was 14 at the time of the shooting, is believed to be one of the youngest homicide defendants in Erie County history.
Connelly found that some coverage, while factual, was inflammatory and prejudicial toward Sanders. But he said that coverage was centered mainly on Sanders’ efforts to have his case moved to Juvenile Court. He said the time period between January and Sanders’ August trial would function as a “cooling-off period.” Any prejudice caused by earlier coverage should then be dissipated, he said.
“The court finds that the publicity, though pervasive, has not saturated the community to the point it can be reasonably concluded that it would be unlikely that a fair and impartial jury could be selected here in Erie County,” Connelly wrote.
Connelly also directed that potential jurors be screened individually during the jury selection process.
At Sebald, Hackwelder, & Knox, we have many years of experience representing people accused of serious crimes such as murder and homicide. If you have been charged with or are being investigated for someone’s death, don’t hesitate to contact our criminal defense attorneys at our offices in Erie, Pennsylvania. We never charge for initial consultations with our criminal defense attorneys.