Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lawyers seek move to juvenile court

Sawud Davis, 16, is charged for alleged role in triple homicide in Plymouth apartment last year.

May 03. 2013 11:40PM

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WILKES-BARRE – Attorneys for a 16-year-old charged in the fatal shooting of three people in Plymouth last summer want their client’s case heard in juvenile court.

Attorneys William Watt and John Pike represent Sawud Davis, of East Ridge Street, Nanticoke. Prosecutors allege he and his half-brother, 19-year-old Shawn Hamilton, fatally shot three people inside an apartment during a drug deal.

Prosecutors say Davis pulled out a .40-caliber pistol and fired multiple rounds, killing Bradley Swartwood, 21, Nicholas Maldonado, 17, both of Plymouth, and Lisa Abaunza, 15, of Duryea, and injuring 19-year-old Daniel Maldonado.

A trial is scheduled for Sept. 9.

Watt and Pike said their client’s case should be heard in juvenile court for four reasons besides his age, including:

* Davis poses no threat to the safety of the public;

* His limited degree of culpability of the alleged crimes;

* A variety of sentencing alternatives in juvenile courthouse;

* He is able be treated, supervised and rehabilitated because of his age, lack of maturity, lack of criminal history and other factors.

The attorneys also asked that the case be heard in another county because of pre-trial publicity and that charges against their client be dismissed.

Charges should be dismissed, they said, because prosecutors did not present enough evidence at a preliminary hearing in October.

The attorneys made other requests, including:

* To throw out alleged statements made by Davis in a July 8 interview with police and a July 13 statement to Luzerne County Correctional Facility officer;

* To throw out evidence seized from Davis’ East Ridge Street home as well as DNA, blood and fingerprints obtained;

* To prohibit prosecutors from using photographs/videos of the alleged victims, as well as any pre-death photos;

* To prohibit prosecutors from using Davis’ prior criminal record and any prior bad acts;

* To separate Davis’ case from Hamilton’s and hold two separate trials;

* To sequester any jurors selected in the case because of pre-trial publicity.

A judge has not yet scheduled a hearing to consider the request to send Davis’ case to juvenile court.

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