Sunday, July 13, 2014

Triple-homicide suspect wants to be tried as juvenile

Hearing will be held Dec. 4 to decide Sawud Davis’ status

October 16. 2013 11:18PM

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WILKES-BARRE — A Dec. 4 hearing has been set for a teen suspect in a Plymouth triple homicide who wants his case moved to juvenile court.

Sawud Davis, now 17, was 16 at the time of what state police called a drug deal gone bad on July 7, 2012. He and his stepbrother, Shawn Hamilton, now 19, were charged in the killings of three people and the critical injuring of another person inside an apartment on First Street.

Davis and Hamilton appeared before Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough on Wednesday morning for a status conference on several matters, including Davis’ upcoming juvenile hearing and pretrial motions in both cases.

Investigators allege the pair were inside an apartment on First Street and killed Bradley Swartwood, 21, Nicholas Maldonado, 17, of Plymouth, and Lisa Abaunza, 15, of Duryea, and injured 19-year-old Daniel Maldonado.

The Luzerne County Coroner’s Office said Swartwood, Nicholas Maldonado and Abaunza were shot multiple times.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Hamilton if he is convicted of first-degree murder.

A trial in the case earlier had been scheduled for Sept. 9, but was pushed back to January after preparations for the decertification hearing prevented Davis’ attorneys from being prepared for the original date.

Vough cautioned that he wants to keep the case on track for a Jan. 6 trial date.

Reports from separate defense and prosecution psychologists will be used to determine if Davis’ case will remain in adult court or be transferred to juvenile court.

The defense must submit its report by Oct. 30, and the commonwealth must submit its report by Nov. 15, the judge said.

Hearings on defense omnibus pretrial motions have been set for 9 a.m. Nov. 5.

Prosecutors say Davis was in the apartment during an alleged drug transaction when he pulled out a .40-caliber pistol and opened fire. After a preliminary hearing in October, Hamilton told reporters he was the lone gunman, not his half-brother.

Hamilton and Davis, formerly of Philadelphia, had been living on East Ridge Street in Nanticoke.

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