Saturday, July 12, 2014

Assault case against 2 men dismissed

Alleged victim a no-show at preliminary hearings of Taleek Sistrunk, 21, and Trevor Whitaker, 26

October 03. 2013 11:06PM

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WILKES-BARRE — Two men who a Luzerne County assistant district attorney said are being investigated in the shooting of two girls at Sherman Hills apartment complex in August were cleared of unrelated simple assault charges on Thursday.

Taleek Sistrunk, 21, and Trevor Whitaker, 26, appeared for a preliminary hearing before District Judge Martin Kane on charges they assaulted a woman over a stolen bank card.

Only the alleged victim did not appear, again.

Sistrunk’s attorney at the hearing, Jonathan Ursiak, and Whitaker’s attorney, Mark Singer, requested the charges be dismissed due to lack of a victim and prosecution. Ursiak was standing in for attorney Allyson Kacmarski, who is involved in a homicide trial in county court.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Coleman asked for the hearing to be continued.

Kane noted the preliminary hearing had been continued two previous times when the alleged victim failed to show. Kane dismissed the case against Sistrunk and Whitaker, who remained jailed at the county prison late Thursday afternoon for unspecified reasons.

District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis did not immediately return a message for comment.

Coleman at a court proceeding before Kane on Sept. 12 said Sistrunk, Whitaker and Jevaun Brown, 24, of South Empire Court, were “being investigated for the shooting of two children at Sherman Hills.”

A preliminary hearing for Brown is scheduled on Oct. 18.

City police arrested the three men on Aug. 24, several hours after Janiya McFarlane, 5, and Gabrielle Morris, 2, were shot in Apartment 614 in Building 328 at Sherman Hills. Arrest papers had alleged the three men were involved in a fight at 91 N. Empire Court over a missing bank card.

Investigators linked the three men to the shooting based on descriptions of a Dodge minivan with a tire on the roof.

No charges have been filed relating to the shooting. The two girls survived their injuries.

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