The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 9, 2013

DA to jurors: 'Core truths' permeate case


MIDDLEBURG — A secret among 50 to 100?

The defense attorneys argued it would have been impossible to keep Seebold’s death a secret if he had been fatally beaten at the party attended by between 50 and 100 people.

Rudinski said the defense witnesses were more credible compared with Gotshall, Heckman and Buss.

“They lied to the grand jury, at preliminary hearings and to state police, and today they want you to convict these people on all their lies,” he said.

Though he told the jury in opening statements that Aucker would testify, he decided against it after the commonwealth introduced as evidence Aucker’s testimony from the 2011 grand jury in which he described finding Seebold in the road and thinking he was passed out, had been beaten or hit by a car.

Finishing the fights

Piecuch argued that Aucker didn’t want to testify and risk cross-examination on his statements about Sprenkel frequently getting into fights and Seebold having to finish them for him.

Best said the motive the commonwealth gave for the brutal assault makes no sense and echoed Rudinski’s theory that Steffen is a better suspect because he and Seebold had been in an altercation before and had dated the same woman.

“We think Donnie had a good time at the party,” Best said, describing a possible scenario that had Seebold walking from the party as he had on prior occasions and encountering Steffen along the way.

Not mystery-solvers

Rymsza said there was no physical evidence linking Sprenkel to the killing of his good friend.

“Your role is not to solve a mystery. You’re not here to determine what actually happened,” he said, asking the jury to weigh the credibility of all the witnesses. “The prosecution is asking you to guess.”

The trial will resume this morning with the jury receiving instructions from Senior Judge Louise O. Knight on the charges — which include either first-degree or third-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter — before they begin deliberations.

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