Prosecutors agree to keep out some evidence in Hazleton homicide trial

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected]
Gene Anthony Hawkins, 48, Hazleton, is led by police into a previous court hearing. Hawkins is accused of fatally stabbing another man in Hazleton. He’s set to go on trial this summer. - Times Leader file photo

WILKES-BARRE — A Hazleton man accused of fatally stabbing another man in 2015 learned Wednesday what sort of evidence will be allowed in the trial against him.

Gene Anthony Hawkins, 48, is charged in the September 2015 homicide of Lashaun Overton, 34, of Brooklyn, New York. Police accuse Hawkins of stabbing Overton in the chest after an argument in Hazleton.

Attorneys gathered before Luzerne County Judge Tina Polachek Gartley for a pretrial motions hearing Wednesday.

Hawkins’ attorney, conflict counsel Stephen Geist, was hoping to have certain pieces of evidence blocked from being presented to a jury.

After about an hour of back-and-forth that occurred before the actual hearing, prosecutors Angela Sperrazza and Daniel Zola told Gartley they would agree not to use three pieces of evidence — two bloodstains found at the scene and a cigarette butt — or any evidence such as photos or testimony that would derive from those pieces.

Police say Hawkins and Overton lived in the same Hazleton apartment complex.

Overton was found unresponsive and bleeding in a parking lot at 1000 Grant St. Two knives were found near his body, one covered in blood.

A witness told police Overton and Hawkins were arguing and Overton had a knife but was not threatening Hawkins with it. Hawkins allegedly went to his apartment and returned with a knife to confront Overton.

Hawkins was described by the witness as lunging at Overton, stabbing him in the chest and fleeing. Overton fired rounds at Hawkins, but none of them struck the man.

Gartley previously set Hawkins’ trial for Aug. 20.

He was sent back to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility on Wednesday, where he is being held without bail.

Gene Anthony Hawkins, 48, Hazleton, is led by police into a previous court hearing. Hawkins is accused of fatally stabbing another man in Hazleton. He’s set to go on trial this summer.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_web1_Hazleton_1_crop_toned-1.jpgGene Anthony Hawkins, 48, Hazleton, is led by police into a previous court hearing. Hawkins is accused of fatally stabbing another man in Hazleton. He’s set to go on trial this summer. Times Leader file photo

By Patrick Kernan

[email protected]

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

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