WILKES-BARRE — A woman charged with covering up the circumstances surrounding the deadly shooting of 14-year-old Tyler Winstead 13 months ago now will face three additional charges at her trial this week.
Prosecutors last week sought to reinstate three of the six charges against Angelina DeAbreu, 31, of East Stroudsburg, that had been withdrawn when she agreed last year to plead guilty.
Luzerne County Judge David Lupas granted that request Monday before a panel of 100 potential jurors began answering questions during jury selection.
DeAbreu originally faced charges of corruption of minors, tampering with evidence and false reports that incriminated another person, as well as hindering the investigation by concealing evidence, hindering the investigation by providing false information to law enforcement and providing false reports to law enforcement.
The last three of those charges were taken off the table when DeAbreu agreed to plead guilty to the first three charges in November. But, after learning prosecutors were seeking a term of incarceration at a sentencing hearing, DeAbreu pulled that plea.
“The (original) agreement wasn’t followed (by prosecutors),” DeAbreu’s attorney, Tom Marsilio, told Lupas. “We had reached an agreement because (prosecutors) were not pushing for incarceration … but later they were.”
Assistant District Attorney Mamie Phillips said DeAbreu and her attorneys were aware of the six original charges, and that DeAbreu would face all six if she ended up not pleading guilty.
Attorneys then began individually questioning jurors, after Marsilio in recent weeks had asked the trial be held in another county because of pre-trial publicity.
More than half of the potential jury panel said they had heard something about the case, and about 15 were questioned Monday afternoon in more detail. Jury selection will continue today.
One juror said he felt sympathy for DeAbreu in trying to protect her son, while another juror said she could understand DeAbreu’s actions as a mother.
Other jurors said they would be more likely to believe a police officer over other witnesses who testified, while others said they already had an opinion on DeAbreu’s guilt.
Police say Tyler Winstead was shot on April 5, 2012, inside DeAbreu’s former Hill Street, Wilkes-Barre, home, when her son, Elijah Yusiff, 14, removed a .22-caliber revolver from a book-shaped case.
Winstead was sitting on a bed in a bedroom when Yusiff turned with his finger on the trigger and the gun went off, according to the criminal complaint. The bullet struck Winstead in the chest, killing him.
After the shooting, Yusiff told police and reporters his friend was shot outside by a man who drove away in a red Ford, according to court papers. Investigators allege DeAbreu hid the gun and Yusiff hid the shell casing in a pile of scrap behind Winstead’s grandparents home on Hill Street.
Yusiff was charged in juvenile court with an unknown offense in May 2012. He is expected to be called to testify during his mother’s trial.