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Criminal defense in murder case requires intensive investigation

When a suspect is arrested days or weeks after the main perpetrators have been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, defense counsel must carefully investigate to verify the facts that occurred. In some cases, accused suspects already in custody will provide the names of unrelated individuals simply to obtain preferred treatment by the police and prosecutors. An experienced criminal defense counsel will be attuned to discovering such travesties before they get ingrained into the prosecution's settled presentation of the case.

A recent example of such a potential issue is the arrest of two men in connection with the homicide of another man at a large outdoor party in Crawford County. The two suspects were arrested after the shooting. Police said that one of them shot the victim and then fled with the assistance of the second suspect. Several days later, the Pennsylvania State Police arrested a 20-year-old man and charged him with several violent offenses indicating some undefined involvement with the shooter.

The specific details of the alleged involvement of the recently arrested individual are unknown at this time. The charges include hindering prosecution, assault, endangerment, tampering with evidence and terroristic threats. That range of charges can cover a lot of territory and it will not be known what the police are alleging until the accused appears at his preliminary hearing.

The charges indicate that the accused is not suspected of killing the victim nor is he charged with a conspiracy to commit murder or any direct actions drawing him into the homicide itself. Criminal defense counsel will stress the client's independence from the homicide itself as the defense moves forward. Counsel will meet with the accused to evaluate the results of counsel's investigation and to determine what strategy to adopt at this time. 

Source: meadvilletribune.com, "Third arrest made in Athens Township homicide case", June 7, 2017

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