Friday, May 17, 2024

Law and Order


I didn't get a chance to sit in at the Justin Schuback murder trial in Lackawanna County court.  I did talk with reporters who were there.  I read the newspaper stories.  I watched the television stories.  Schuback was charged with the January 2017 death of Old Forge bar/restaurant owner Robert Baron.

The jury deliberated for more than ten hours over two days, and returned with a verdict of guilty of first degree murder.  Some were surprised.  I wasn't.

Yes, there are some holes in the prosecution's case.  No case is perfect, unless you have video of the crime in action.  Some witnesses weren't the most credible.  The defense based its case on the cross examination of the prosecution witnesses.  The defense called no witnesses of its own.

For me, it came down to a few things.  Schuback's girlfriend said he came home one morning covered in mud, presumably of dumping the body in the woods.  Schuback's DNA was found in Baron's car.  Cell phone data placed Schuback at or near the scene of the crime and where the body was dumped.

The drugged up jailhouse confession had some weight.  The judge allowed the confession to be introduced at the trial.  I just have a feeling that will be one of the major appellate issues.

Yes, it's easy to sit at a computer keyboard and offer opinions.  I'm sure sitting on that jury, with someone's life in your hands, is much different.