The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

May 24, 2013

Prosecutors fight appeal in Northumberland County murder case

WILLIAMSPORT — The state attorney general’s office says the murder conviction of Kevin Marinelli should stand.

Chief Deputy Attorney General James P. Barker in a document filed Friday in U.S. Middle District Court rejects the claims raised by Marinelli, who is fighting execution for the 1994 murder of Conrad Dumchock.

Marinelli, who is at the State Correctional Institution at Greene in Waynesburg, takes issue with a November court decision in which a judge denied an appeal and refused to issue a certificate of appealability except on one claim.

Barker argues the decision should stand because there was no clear error of law or manifest justice.

Addressing the specific issues raised by the defense, Barker writes there is no evidence to support the claim Marinelli’s brother, Mark, was told to lie by members of the prosecution team.

Evidence also contradicts claims by Marinelli that he invoked his right to counsel at his arraignment, the prosecution knew Mark Marinelli’s testimony to be untrustworthy because he failed a lie detector test and his lawyer was ineffective, the document contends.

Barker also rebutted claims the jury instruction on torture as an aggravating circumstance was unconstitutionally vague and Marinelli’s future threat to society was not presented to the jury.

The filing indicates the prosecution will be filing a response to a supplement Marinelli filed earlier this month in which Nathan Reigle alleges then District Attorney Robert B. Sacavage told him how to lie at the 1995 trial.

That conflicts with Reigle saying repeatedly at trial his testimony was not coached and that his cooperation was freely given.

Reigle also claims threats caused him to invoke his right against self-incrimination and not testify for Marinelli at his post-conviction hearing in January 2000.

Marinelli hopes to use what he calls previously unavailable evidence as continues to appeal first-degree murder conviction. He was sentenced to death plus another 25 to 50 years on charges of robbery, conspiracy and burglary.

Mark Marinelli and Thomas Kirchoff are serving life sentences for their roles in the murder. Mark Marinelli testified against his brother and Kirchoff.

The version given at trial was the three men went to Dumchock’s residence the evening of April 26, 1994, to steal stereo equipment. They encountered Dumchock who pleaded with them to take what they wanted but leave him alone.

According to trial testimony, Kevin Marinelli struck Dumchock in the face with a gun and continued the assault when he would moan or not answer a question. After Mark Marinelli and Kirchoff left the house, Dumchock was shot twice in the head.

 

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