WILKES-BARRE — After years of appellate delays, a Hazleton man will face trial in Luzerne County Court next month on charges he killed a man and injured another person during a melee outside a bar in 2014.
Luzerne County Judge Fred Pierantoni III on Thursday scheduled Terrence Clarke’s homicide trial to begin Sept. 24.
Hazleton police allege Clarke, 30, last known address on North Locust Street, fatally shot Gary Cox, 45, and injured Guillermo Quinonnes outside Shaker’s Nightclub on North Broad Street on Feb. 2, 2014.
Investigators believe a fight erupted between Clarke and Quinonnes inside the club at about 2 a.m. The fight escalated outside when Clarke allegedly started shooting toward a crowd.
An autopsy revealed Cox died from a gunshot wound to the head. Quinonnes suffered a gunshot wound to the buttocks and survived, investigators said.
Investigators said Quinonnes was driven from the club to his house in McAdoo, where an ambulance was summoned.
Two state troopers were on patrol in the neighborhood and heard the gunfire. The troopers chased Clarke, who dropped a .45-caliber handgun while running, according to court records.
Investigators allege the shooting was recorded by the club’s surveillance cameras.
Clarke claims he picked up the handgun that dropped from another person and fired into the crowd in self-defense.
His trial has been delayed due to an appeal filed by the district attorney’s office.
Prosecutors challenged a ruling by Pierantoni that denied a request to compel Clarke to offer proof that the use of deadly force was made in self-defense.
The state Superior Court in December denied to hear the appeal, claiming it has no jurisdiction.
Pierantoni told Assistant District Attorney Brian Coleman and Clarke’s attorney, Demetrius Fannick, he will hear arguments at the time of trial and outside the presence of a jury if Clarke raises a self-defense claim.
Criminal charges filed against Clarke were severed into two trials — one for illegal possession of a firearm and the second, pending trial for homicide and two counts of aggravated assault.
A jury convicted Clarke of illegal possession of a firearm during a trial in October 2014. He was sentenced to two to four years in state prison.
Pierantoni allowed Clarke to remain at the county lockup pending the homicide trial.