Trial set for October in 2011 death of Matthew Gailie

Last updated: May 16. 2014 11:30PM - 4306 Views
By - rdupuis@timesleader.com

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WILKES-BARRE — Jessica Alinsky of Hazle Township had a message for the media last month minutes after pleading guilty to fatally shooting boyfriend Matthew Gailie in 2011.

“I would never hurt him. Time will tell and the truth will come out,” a sobbing Alinsky, 30, said as sheriff’s deputies escorted her from court on April 2.

On Friday, Luzerne County Judge Tina Polachek Gartley accepted Alinsky’s request to withdraw her third-degree murder plea in the killing of Matthew Gailie, setting a trial date of Oct. 6.

Composed and tear-free, Alinsky had much less to say to reporters this time as the shackled defendant was led out of the county courthouse following Gartley’s ruling.

“If you have any questions or comments you can talk to my attorney,” Alinsky said, then walked silently away with a deputy on either flank.

The question reporters were asking was why Alinsky backed out of her original deal, under which she faced up to 40 years in prison for the Sept. 2, 2011, killing of Gailie inside the Hazle Township home they had been sharing.

Now, she could face up to life in prison if the commonwealth were to successfully pursue a first-degree murder conviction.

There was no objection to her plea withdrawal Friday from the prosecution.

Alinsky’s new lawyer, Demetrius Fannick, said in court that she asserts her innocence, but did not elaborate. Efforts to reach Fannick for further comment later were unsuccessful.

Alinsky’s former lawyer, Jeffrey M. Markosky of Mahanoy City, requested to be released from the case due to “significant philosophical differences” between himself and Alinsky over “the most appropriate defense to raise at trial,” according to papers he filed with Gartley.

The judge on Friday granted Markosky’s request while recognizing Fannick’s appearance in the case.

The withdrawal petition Markosky filed on Alinsky’s behalf last week indicated Alinsky wanted to withdraw her guilty plea and proceed to trial “due to the fact that she is innocent of the charges,” but also did not elaborate.

Gailie, 34, died of a single gunshot wound to the face inside the home on Muskegon Circle in Eagle Rock, a gated resort community. Alinsky was arrested last July following a coroner’s inquest into Gailie’s death.

According to court paperwork filed by the prosecution, Alinsky and Gailie dated for two and a half years. The couple had numerous fights, including Alinsky throwing coffee and a bag of clothes at Gailie, prosecutors wrote.

Gailie, a state corrections officer, showed up at work with scratches on his body and told co-workers Alinsky threatened him with a knife, prosecutors wrote.

When Alinsky pleaded guilty last month, she cried and hesitated, shaking her head “no” even as she entered the plea.

Then, as she was led away in shackles, Alinsky made remarks to Gailie’s family members and the media suggesting she didn’t do it.

Members of Gailie’s family attended the April 2 plea hearing, and returned to Wilkes-Barre on Friday to see the plea reversed.

“Honestly we are not surprised,” said Gailie’s sister, Ariana, a New York state resident.

“We expected it from the day she entered the plea. Everything is about drama with her,” Ariana Gailie said. “And the smug, vindicated look she had on her face in court today was priceless, but the joke’s on her, because she’s the one sitting in the orange jumpsuit and shackles and for her, orange is not the new black.”

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