Court Briefs

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
Nealy -
Battle -

DJ Mo murder trial

pushed to later date

WILKES-BARRE — The trial for two men accused of killing a local DJ has been pushed to a later date.

Roberto Battle, 29, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is accused of firing the shots that killed Michael “DJ Mo” Onley in October 2013. David Nealy, 37, of Kingston, was driving the car Battle fired from, prosecutors say.

At a pre-trial conference this week, Judge David W. Lupas granted a motion to delay the trial from Nealy’s attorney, Thomas P. Sundmaker.

Assistant District Attorney Jarrett Ferentino told the Times Leader that Sundmaker filed the motion to get more time to review pieces of evidence.

Ferentino said he raised no objections, saying prosecutors will be ready whenever the case goes to trial.

“We’ll be ready in the summer; we’ll be ready in the fall,” he said.

Battle and Nealy were set to go to trial in June.

A new status conference has been scheduled for July 10.

Man waives hearing

related to police chase

WILKES-BARRE — A Berwick man waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Luzerne County Central Court on charges he initiated a pursuit with Sugarloaf Township police last month.

Mark Raper, 45, of Main Street, will now stand trial on charges of fleeing or attempting to elude police, resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license.

A speeding citation was withdrawn.

According to a criminal complaint:

On April 21, Sugarloaf officers tried to stop the driver of a Volkswagen owned by a woman who had a suspended and expired driver’s license. Raper was operating the Volkswagen.

Raper failed to stop and initiated a pursuit on Route 93 that ended on Walnut Street in Salem Township.

Police add charges

against Newport man

WILKES-BARRE — Township police have filed additional charges against a man from Newport Township in connection to a vehicle pursuit that ended in Monroe County last month.

Christopher Banks, 36, appeared for a preliminary hearing in Luzerne County Central Court on Tuesday when police added two counts of recklessly endangering another person and a single count of accidents involving damage to an attended vehicle.

Banks was initially charged with aggravated assault, illegal possession of a firearm, fleeing or attempting to elude police, escape, firearms not to be carried without a license, DUI, reckless endangerment, careless driving, driving with a suspended license, reckless driving and carrying a loaded weapon April 27.

Banks’ preliminary hearing was rescheduled to May 18.

According to a criminal complaint:

Police were in the area of East Main and Mayock streets in Wilkes-Barre when they were flagged down by a motorist. The motorist claimed Banks, who was driving behind him in a 2012 Lincoln MKZ, fired shots at his vehicle.

Banks was spotted by an officer holding a handgun. Banks responded by reversing his vehicle, nearly striking an officer and crashing into a cruiser.

Banks sped away, sparking a pursuit that led to Interstates 81, 84 and 380, where the tires on his vehicle were flattened.

Banks remains jailed without bail.

Woman faces trial on

endangerment charge

WILKES-BARRE — A woman from Pittston will face a child endangerment charge in Luzerne County Court.

District Judge David Barilla presiding in Luzerne County Central Court on Tuesday forwarded a charge of endangering the welfare of children against Taylor Rodden, 22, of Riverview Manor.

Pittston police charged Rodden after investigating burns to a then 19-month-old girl in June 2017.

Rodden claimed the girl suffered the burns from a hand dryer at a service station near Harrisburg, police report.

Rodden is charged with failing to seek immediate medical treatment for the toddler.

Assault charges dismissed

WILKES-BARRE — Charges of simple assault and harassment were dismissed against Kelsey Drozda, 26, of West End Road, Hanover Township, during a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Luzerne County Central Court.

Wilkes-Barre police arrested Drozda on April 23 after investigating claims she assaulted a family member inside a McLean Street residence, according to court records.

Trio to stand trial

on meth charges

WILKES-BARRE — Three people charged by police in Dallas and Dallas Township last month for alleged meth labs now face drug-related offenses in Luzerne County Court.

Joseph Francis Smith, 37, of Huntsville Road, Dallas, and Janet Elizabeth Mannear, 39, of East 42nd Street, Dallas Township, waived their rights to preliminary hearings in Luzerne County Central Court on Tuesday.

Smith will now face these charges in county court: possession with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance and operating a methamphetamine lab.

Prosecutors withdrew three other counts of possession with intent to manufacture, and one count each of unlawful manufacturing, disposing chemical waste, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Mannear faces charges of possession with intent to manufacture, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal use of a communication facility.

Kristy Noel Mendygral, 34, who resided with Smith on Huntsville Road, previously waived her right to a preliminary hearing. That sent to county court these charges: possession with intent to manufacture and operating a methamphetamine lab.

Police allegedly discovered a meth lab inside the Huntsville Road home after serving a search warrant April 9. The warrant was obtained after an officer allegedly found meth-making items in garbage left at the curb.

WB man sought

on arrest warrant

WILKES-BARRE — An arrest warrant was issued for Isaiah Tarique Elam, 28, when he failed to appear for a preliminary hearing in Luzerne County Central Court on Tuesday.

Elam, with addresses listed at 72 Sullivan St. and 116 N. Empire St., was charged by city police when he repeatedly rammed a vehicle into a gas meter outside the North Empire Street house of his girlfriend April 27, authorities report. He was charged with risking a catastrophe and criminal mischief.

Elam was released from the county lockup April 30 when he posted $50,000 bail through a bail bondsman, court records say.

Elam was also charged by city police with simple assault and harassment after the girlfriend alleged he threatened her March 3.

A district judge sent the charges against him to county court.

— By Ed Lewis and Patrick Kernan



By Ed Lewis

[email protected]