WILKES-BARRE — A homicide trial for a Hazleton man accused in a fatal stabbing nearly three years ago was delayed until 2019.
Luzerne County Judge Tina Polachek Gartley on Monday granted a request to continue the trial for Gene Anthony Hawkins, 48, until March.
Hawkins’ attorneys, Ed Olexa and and Stephen Geist, requested the trial be delayed due to the availability of a witness.
Olexa and Geist claimed the witness would not be available to testify at Hawkins’ trial if it began as scheduled Aug. 20.
Prosecutors Chester Dudick and Angela Sperrazza did not object to the trial being continued.
Polachek Gartley said jury selection will now begin March 4.
It is the third time Hawkins’ trial has been pushed back, according to court records.
Hazleton police arrested Hawkins, also known as “Sin,” hours after he allegedly stabbed Lashaun Overton, 34, of Brooklyn, New York, during a dispute outside an apartment building at 21st and Grant streets on Sept. 3, 2015.
Police found a bloody Overton hunched over. He later died at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton.
An autopsy revealed Overton died from a stab wound to the chest, according to the county coroner’s office.
Witnesses said they heard two or three gunshots and spotted several people standing in front of the apartment building while arguing. Overton had a knife but did not threaten Hawkins with it, authorities said.
Hawkins then retreated to his apartment and, with a knife in his hand, confronted and lunged at Overton, stabbing him in the chest, according to court records.
Hawkins remains jailed at the county correctional facility without bail.