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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, December 11, 2020

Will Wolf's Latest Edict Cause Mistrial in Holmes Case?

Jacob Holmes
Late yesterday afternoon, Governor Tom Wolf responded to a spike in Covid-19 cases by imposing a new set of restrictions. Among them is a ban on indoor gatherings of more than 10 people, scheduled to go into effect on Saturday at midnight. Will this latest order result in a mistrial in the Jacob Holmes murder trial, which is expected to continue into next week? That's just the latest headache for President Judge Michael J Koury, Jr. and everyone involved. But it seems unlikely. 

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."


Anonymous said...

I suspect the final word on how trials are held will come from the state Supreme Court, not the county president judge or even the governor.

Peterjcochran said...

Anon 10:59 I say not so. . Personally I think the gangbangers are fair game. but- .Migual Aponta asked for it his demise in their world . These are not people that have.
Regular jobs and go to work someplace,theis are the walkers to grime up their sidwalks. They are in different demention and I’m not saying I think he’s guilty. There are a lots off people that could have made this hit with a mask on. I personally arrested a Migal Aponta in Allentown and personally chased one by that that as as a bail bondsman in 3 states in my younger more stupid days. But got him . The commission was 20% of bail It’s grown 5 times . I eve got it still in my a retirement fund that I haven’t collected on yet.

Anonymous said...

With this lock down again that a Coke tests positive for covid, just maybe our fine governor should take this man's place on the injection table.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Gov. Wolf is to blame for everything, isn't he?

LVCI said...

..a ban on indoor gatherings of more than 10 people, scheduled to go into effect on Saturday at midnight. Will this latest order result in a mistrial?

It appears not. According to what it says on THE ORDER's FAQ CHART... Judiciary or Court Functions: Follow DOH and CDC Guidelines.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that if they finish the trial, no one is going to cause trouble.

Methinks you must want to suggest that Wolf is soft on crime and anti-business. Your agenda is showing!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Um, I had the same question that lawyers in the case had, including the DA. No one suggests he is soft on crime. My question was resolved by reading the order. The only agenda that is showing is yours.

Anonymous said...

6:12 Are you still a bail bondsman? You sound like the epitome of everything that is wrong with our current system. The second you start seeing people as less-than-human you should re-evaluate your fitness to interact in society.

Omg do you carry a gun? Any fun lawsuits you care to share??