This article was originally published on goerie.com by Madeleine O’Neill on June 7, 2017.
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office will pursue a first-degree murder conviction against an Erie man accused of fatally shooting another man at an east Erie gas station in January, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
A trial date was not set at the formal arraignment for the defendant, Merle A. Page Jr., 26, who will face trial on charges including homicide in the death of 26-year-old Marcell Flemings.
Assistant District Attorney Paul Sellers, who is prosecuting the case with Assistant District Attorney D. Robert Marion, estimated the prosecution’s case would take two to three days to present at trial.
Page’s court-appointed lawyer, Stephen Sebald, said he will file for an extension of time to file pretrial motions. He said he will also likely seek to have a psychologist appointed in the case.
Judge William R. Cunningham, who presided at the arraignment, in March found Page competent after Sebald filed a motion asking for a psychiatric evaluation to determine if Page suffers a mental disorder that might prevent him from understanding the nature of the charges against him.
A forensic psychologist who testified at a hearing on the motion said he believed Page was not competent to stand trial because of an adjustment disorder. Cunningham found Page competent, noting the psychologist’s finding that Page understood the charges against him.
Sebald wrote in the motion that Page had shown a “detached affect” when they met at the Erie County Prison.
“I still think that there are some significant psychological issues,” Sebald said Wednesday.
Erie police charge Page fatally shot Flemings, of Erie, during a confrontation near the gas pumps at the Shell station at East Sixth and Parade streets on Jan. 15.
Police said Page and Flemings got into a physical altercation outside the gas station, and that Page could be seen on surveillance video going to a gold car, exiting it with a gun and running toward Flemings before firing the gun, knocking Flemings to the ground.
Flemings was pronounced dead at UPMC Hamot a short time after the shooting.
Page is in the Erie County Prison without bond because he is accused of homicide.
In addition to the homicide charge, Page will face trial on charges of aggravated assault, possession of the instrument of a crime, carrying a firearm without a license and 10 counts of reckless endangerment. Police said at least a dozen people were present when the shooting occurred.