Judge hears pre-trial arguments in fatal hit-run case from 2012

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected]
A Ford F-350 pickup was seized illegally by Wilkes-Barre police in August 2012 from the Hanover Township residence of Daniel Loughnane, a state Superior Court ruled. Loughnane’s attorney is now claiming other evidence was also taken inappropriately as part of the fatal hit-and-run case. - Times Leader file photo

WILKES-BARRE — A motion hearing for the man accused of running over a young woman and fleeing the scene six years ago ended with the prospect of another hearing as the trial date nears.

Prosecutors and attorneys for Daniel Loughnane appeared before Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough on Wednesday. Loughnane, 46, is accused in the 2012 death of Rebecca McCallick, 19, on July 24, 2012. He allegedly ran her over on his way home from the former Gentleman’s Club 10 while she was laying in Hazle Street. Prosecutors say he fled the scene.

Vough heard arguments on two motions filed by Loughnane’s defense team.

Defense attorney Peter Paul Olszewski’s first motion regards Jessie Spencer, one of the prosecution’s witnesses.

Spencer’s testimony was one of the subjects of a recent defense motion to suppress. Vough recently issued an order blocking her from testifying as to her opinion of Loughnane’s guilt.

However, it came to Olszewski’s attention that Spencer had attended a previous hearing and indeed heard arguments regarding her testimony.

Olszewksi is now seeking to have Spencer’s testimony disqualified.

“Never have I seen the commonwealth have its trial witnesses in the courtroom during arguments about the witness’ testimony,” Olszewksi said. “It’s beyond the pale.”

First Assistant District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce said he had no idea Spencer was in the room — in fact, he said he had never seen her before and wouldn’t recognize her — while Assistant District Attorney Alexis Falvello said she saw Spencer outside the courtroom, but didn’t know she came in.

Vough asked Olszewski why he felt Spencer’s testimony would be tainted, to which he said she would be able to craft her testimony to match arguments. Sanguedolce said she would essentially have to do that anyway, as he would have had to tell her what Vough’s order limited her testimony to.

An order on this motion will be issued in the coming week, Vough said.

The judge also heard arguments regarding a recently filed motion, where Olszewski claims investigators inappropriately seized a digital video recorder from the strip club. He says the search warrant allowed them to take recordings, but not the recorder itself.

A hearing on this motion is set for Oct. 10, as Olszewski required testimony from a witness who was not available Wednesday.

Vough plans to have all the motions settled before Loughnane goes to trial Oct. 15.

A Ford F-350 pickup was seized illegally by Wilkes-Barre police in August 2012 from the Hanover Township residence of Daniel Loughnane, a state Superior Court ruled. Loughnane’s attorney is now claiming other evidence was also taken inappropriately as part of the fatal hit-and-run case.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_web1_Loughnane-truck-08132012-2.jpgA Ford F-350 pickup was seized illegally by Wilkes-Barre police in August 2012 from the Hanover Township residence of Daniel Loughnane, a state Superior Court ruled. Loughnane’s attorney is now claiming other evidence was also taken inappropriately as part of the fatal hit-and-run case. 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