As I explained yesterday, the court has already taken extensive precautions to prevent the courtroom from being a superspreader. Everyone is spread out and masked.
In his Order, Governor Wolf explains.
Classroom instruction by school entities is not a “gathering” or “event” for purposes of this Order. Nor is a meeting of electors, including any preparation, to perform the duties enjoined upon them by the Constitution and the laws of the Commonwealth and of the United States a “gathering” or “event” for purposes of this Order.
If classroom instruction or elections can continue, it would make sense that a jury trial already in progress should be allowed to reach its conclusion.
Two more days of testimony are expected.
Jacob Holmes is currently on trial in the execution-style slaying of Miguel Aponte at Easton Cafe on March 30, 2009.
If convicted, he could be sentenced to death.
Yesterday, the jury heard from Melvin Bryson, Jr,, currently serving a sentence in prison in an unrelated matter. Bryson is also in quarantine after having been exposed to Covid-19, and is awaiting test results. That's why he testified remotely.
Bryson, known as Junior, told the jury that Miguel was like a son to him, and worked with him detailing cars not far from Easton Cafe. They'd go there for lunch or for a few drinks after work. They were there on March 30, 2009. Bryson and "JP" played the poker machine, while Miguel Aponte was seated at the bar.
At some point, he said that Frankie Barndt (see yesterday's story) called and stopped by, but was not there very long.
Later, while he was at the poker machine, he heard a bang at the door. The bartender went over to answer "and that's when everything went crazy." He heard "Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!" and dropped to the floor. He could see the shooter, but only partially. He was wearing a hoodie and his face was mostly covered.
After the shooting, Bryson went over to Miguel. "He's someone I loved dearly and there was nothing I could do to help him. He just had a baby and was trying to make things better."
Bryson went outside and the shooter was still there. "Get the fuck back in the bar!" commanded the shooter. Bryson said he only part of the assailant's face but knew he was black because "his voice sounded like a black man."
Bryson himself is black.
He went out of the bar a second time to chase after the shooter, but was stopped by police and briefly detained as they made sure he and his friends were unarmed.
On cross, Bryson was asked by Attorney Brian Monahan if the shooter might be Barndt. He denied it was him. "The shooter was not Frank. I know Frank's voice and know everything about him."