Saturday, July 12, 2014

One Lee request denied, another granted

March 17. 2013 2:57AM

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WILKES-BARRE – A Luzerne County judge for the second time denied a request to transfer the criminal homicide case against Cody Lee to juvenile court.

But another judge did transfer the preliminary hearing to the district judge in Kingston.

Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. issued his ruling Wednesday that keeps Lee's case in adult court.

Meanwhile, President Judge Thomas F. Burke Jr. granted a request by prosecutors to have another district judge preside over the preliminary hearing.

Prosecutors had asked that the preliminary hearing not be held before District Judge James Tupper, who dismissed the homicide charge after three hours of testimony last Friday.

Burke assigned Lee's preliminary hearing to District Judge Paul Roberts, who will schedule the proceeding at a later date.

Lee's hearing before Tupper had been scheduled for today.

Prosecutors believe they presented sufficient evidence that Lee might be responsible for the killing of his great-grandfather, Herbert Lee, 80, inside their home on Meeker Outlet Road in Lake Township on Dec. 9, 2009.

The case was delayed for nearly three years while Lee's attorneys, Peter Paul Olszewski Jr., Melissa A. Scartelli and Charles Rado, filed appeals.

Lee's attorneys were successful in prohibiting prosecutors from using statements he allegedly made to state police investigators.

His attorneys argued Lee was suffering from hypothermia and was unable to discern whether talking to investigators was the right or wrong thing to do.

Sklarosky in August issued a 14-page opinion that kept the homicide charge in adult court, denying an earlier request by Lee's attorneys to move the case to juvenile court.

Prosecutors used Sklarosky's ruling in their request for another magisterial district judge.

Sklarosky wrote that evidence in the case allegedly indicates Lee is responsible for his great-grandfather's death.

Investigators allege Lee showed a written outline to another student at Lake-Lehman Junior/Senior High School, where he was then a junior, detailing his plan to execute Herbert Lee and his father, Scott Lee.

A few hours after classes ended, Cody Lee, then 16 , completed half of his murderous plot by shooting Herbert Lee in the head, according to the criminal complaint.

Scott Lee wrestled the gun away from his son, who ran from the house without shoes and a jacket and spent the night in woods when temperatures were in the low 30s.

Tupper dismissed the case, saying evidence was not presented that Lee did indeed write the murderous plan.

Civilian clothes Ok'd

Cody Lee will be permitted to wear civilian clothes for his preliminary hearing.

At last week's hearing, Lee was delivered by state police wearing a prison jumpsuit, in violation of a court order that allowed him to wear civilian clothes. Lee was returned to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility where he changed clothes, delaying last week's hearing by 30 minutes.

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