BROOKVILLE â€” Convicted murderer Steven P. Rebert, who was found guilty of two counts of criminal homicide following his jury trial in January, has filed post-trial motions for acquittal or a new trial.
Jan. 24, the jury found Rebert, formerly of Emporium, guilty of double homicide in the shooting deaths of Victoria Lynn and Wayne Shugar, both 61, whose bodies were found April 12, 2010, in their Coal Tipple Road home, Brockway.
Jan. 27, Rebert was sentenced to four life sentences without the possibility of parole on each count of criminal homicide in the first degree and each count of criminal homicide in the second degree, each sentence to run consecutive; and a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of 20 years on the count of burglary.
The jury deadlocked on sentencing Rebert to death or life in prison, so a sentences of life was automatic, because the jury was not unanimous in its decision.
Feb. 3, Jacqueline Jo Mizerock, one of Rebertâ€™s defense attorneys, hand-delivered to the office of District Attorney Jeffrey Burkett, who prosecuted the case, a motion for a new trial based on reversible error.
Several post-trial motions were filed against Jefferson County President Judge John H. Forardora for committing what is called reversible error in failing to grant the defendantâ€™s motions in the case.
According to the post-trial motion filed by Mizerock, Foradora:
â€˘ Did not recuse (step aside in favor of another judge) himself when asked to do so.
â€˘ Failed to grant the defendantâ€™s motion for jury sequestration.
â€˘ Failed to suppress evidence with respect to probable cause of the search warrants that were issued.
â€˘ Failed to grant the defendantâ€™s motions to suppress evidence with respect to the seizure of Rebertâ€™s vehicle.
â€˘ Failed to grant the defendantâ€™s motions to suppress evidence of the testimony of Joel Eagleson, who testified that while being held in the same jail cell as Rebert â€” who was undergoing withdrawal from OxyContin â€” in Genessee County, N.Y., that Rebert confessed to the homicides in Brockway.
â€˘ Permitted the testimony of Michelle Bright, who worked at the Shugarsâ€™ Flowers & More in Brockway and was friends with Rebert, regarding prior bad acts of Rebert that were not relevant to the case at hand.
Rebert alleges that he is entitled to both a new trial and a motion for acquittal, because, in both motions â€” for a new trial and acquittal:
â€˘ There was insufficient evidence to prove each and every element of the offense of robbery-inflicting serious bodily injury.
â€˘ There was insufficient evidence to prove each and every element of theft by unlawful taking.
â€˘ There was insufficient evidence to prove each and every element of the offense of burglary.
â€˘ There was insufficient evidence to prove each and every element of the offense of criminal homicide in the second degree.
Mizerock wrote that Rebert respectfully requests the court grants him a judgement of acquittal, grants him a new trial, or whatever additional relief the court deems necessary.