By Steve Pope | January 24, 2019
Antwon Rose had gunshot residue on his hands, was in a stolen car that authorities alleged was involved in a drive-by shooting, and had a magazine in his pocket that fit into one of two stolen guns found in the car. Yet Chief Trial Deputy District Attorney Daniel Fitzsimmons argued at a court hearing Thursday that this information should be kept from a jury.
In a court filing Fitzsimmons argued that the information is irrelevant and should not be admitted during the trial of Michael Rosfeld, the former East Pittsburgh police officer who is accused of shooting Rose as he fled from the car during a traffic stop on June 19.
However, Rosfeld’s attorney Patrick Thomassey, argued that the information, along with the claim that Rose had gunshot residue on his hands and $315 in his pocket, is relevant and jurors should hear about it during the trial.
Thomassey said, “They want to exclude the fact that there were guns in the car — really?” He added later, “They don’t want to let us try this case. It’s that simple.”
Fitzsimmons countered that the jury should only be told what Rosfeld knew before the shooting and he couldn’t possibly have known about the magazine authorities found on Rose, the large amount of money in his pocket, or the two stolen guns in the car before the shooting.
“The Commonwealth asserts that not only is the information not [relevant], but it could only serve to confuse the [jury] or unfairly impugn the character of the victim,” Fitzsimmons wrote in the filing.
The two guns found in the car had been reported stolen, and one of them was used in the shooting, according to police.
Common Pleas Judge Alexander Bicket said that he will rule on the motion at a later date.
In another development, Judge Bicket said that jury selection, which will take place in Dauphin County, has been pushed back until March 12. Jurors will be selected from an initial pool of 500 potential jurors and subpoenas for jury service are scheduled to be mailed out as early as Friday.
Steve Pope can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org