Accused killer’s lawyer attempts to block evidence

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected] | December 28th, 2017 10:34 pm

WILKES-BARRE — The attorney for an accused murderer is trying once again to have a piece of the prosecution’s evidence blocked from being admitted in the upcoming trial.

Tevon Thomas, 25, and Keanu Pinnock, 20, both of Wilkes-Barre, are accused in the fatal shooting of Irvando “Yardie” Crooks on Sept. 2, 2016, in a North Sherman Street home.

Thomas was charged with criminal homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide.

In November, Pinnock agreed to plead guilty to a count of third-degree murder and to testify against Thomas under the condition that counts of conspiracy and tampering with evidence would be dropped.

Thomas’ attorney, Joseph Price, has filed a series of motions in regards to Pinnock’s guilty plea. The latest of those came on Thursday, when Price argued that a written summary of the events of the night of the homicide, which has been named by prosecutors as Exhibit A, should be inadmissible.

Price’s says that, since Exhibit A is not written by Pinnock, he cannot be submitted as the declarant of the statement.

Instead, the author of the statement would be the statement’s declarant, Price says. However, Price goes on to argue that Thomas’ right to know the source of evidence against him is being violated, as the author of the statement remains anonymous.

The statement says Thomas said he was going to kill Crooks, but Price says the statement is only hearsay.

“If it is argued that Pinnock adopted the statement as his own when he admitted under oath that the narrative was true, this still represents hearsay within hearsay,” Price says in his filing.

Price, claiming the statement represents the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office’s interpretation of Pinnock’s version of events, says admitting it as evidence could prejudice the jury to prosecutor’s interpretation.

While Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky did not rule on Price’s most recent motion, he did previously deny another motion from Thomas’ defense that said part of Pinnock’s testimony negated the conspiracy charges against Thomas.

Sklarosky denied the motion to drop that charge earlier this month.

The trial against Thomas is set to begin on Jan. 8, while Pinnock’s sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 16. Pinnock will likely be sentenced to between 20 and 40 years in prison.


By Patrick Kernan

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan