WILKES-BARRE – Attorneys representing a 16-year-old charged in the fatal shooting of three people in Plymouth last summer told a judge on Friday they intend to request their client’s case be transferred to juvenile court.
Attorney William Watt said he will be filing court papers asking that the case of Sawud Davis be sent to juvenile court because of his age. Davis, who is charged in the killings with half-brother 19-year-old Shawn Hamilton, is slated to be tried as an adult.
Attorneys for Hamilton, who faces the death penalty if convicted, filed court papers Thursday asking, among other requests that the death penalty be taken off the table and that the trial be held in another county.
According to prosecutors, Davis was in a Plymouth apartment during an alleged drug transaction and pulled out a .40-caliber pistol. He fired multiple rounds, said prosecutors, killing Bradley Swartwood, 21, Nicholas Maldonado, 17, both of Plymouth, and Lisa Abaunza, 15, of Duryea, and injuring 19-year-old Daniel Maldonado.
At a preliminary hearing in October, Hamilton said he was the lone gunman, not his half-brother. Both Hamilton and Davis are formerly of Philadelphia and had been residing on East Ridge Street in Nanticoke.
Assistant District Attorneys William Finnegan, Rebecca Reimiller and Mamie Phillips said they are awaiting some evidence, but are otherwise prepared for the Sept. 9 trial.
Attorneys Allyson Kacmarski, Robert Buttner and Mark Bufalino, who represent Hamilton, filed a 47-page document Thursday, outlining several requests they are making in the case. One of those requests is to prohibit prosecutors from seeking the death penalty, citing it is a violation of Hamilton’s rights.
The attorneys also ask that the half-brothers’ trials be severed so that two independent trials are held, and that Hamilton’s trial be held in another county due to pretrial publicity.
The attorneys have also asked that:
- Certain oral and written statements be suppressed.
- Prosecutors be prohibited from showing certain photos of the victims.
- Video evidence of the victims and crime scene should be precluded.
- Prosecutors be prohibited from mentioning Hamilton’s prior convictions or other “bad acts.”
- Witnesses that prosecutors intend to call be sequestered.
- Restraints Hamilton wears for transport to the courthouse be removed during the trial.
- Prosecutors be prohibited or limited in presenting victim impact testimony.
- Robbery charges against Hamilton should be dismissed due to lack of evidence.
- And that the death penalty also be dismissed because it is “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Hamilton’s attorneys also asked that an Atkin’s hearing be held. An Atkin’s hearing, named for the case of Atkins v. Virginia, is the result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the imposition of the death penalty on the mentally retarded constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
Hamilton’s attorneys allege their client suffers from a “sub-average intellectual functioning, mental illness and/or intellectual disability”and therefore cannot be put to death.
Luzerne County Judge Michael Vough will consider the requests at a July hearing.