BROOKVILLE — In a continuance hearing Wednesday, the prosecution and the defense in the case of the Commonwealth vs. Steven Patrick Rebert were on opposite sides on which set of laws should be used regarding a June 2010 traffic stop during which he was arrested by law enforcement in his native state of New York.
The issue, pertaining to items taken from Rebert’s pockets during the stop and his statements to police: Should the court look at those issues in accordance to Pennsylvania or New York state laws?
Rebert, formerly of Emporium, faces double homicide charges in the shooting deaths of Victoria Lynn Shugar and her husband, James Shugar — also known as Wayne Shugar — both 61, who were found dead April 12, 2010, in their Coal Tipple Road home, Brockway.
District Attorney Jeff Burkett believes Pennsylvania law should be applied to the traffic stop, while Rebert’s defense team of John Ingros and Jacqueline Mizerock believe New York law should be applied.
Rebert, dressed in sneakers, jeans and a T-shirt in court Wednesday, and not the usual jail-issued jumpsuit, was arrested June 3, 2010, in Genesee County, N.Y., for possession of a weapon.
New York authorities are also investigating two separate homicides in Genesee County and Orleans County, N.Y., in which they have named Rebert as a “person on interest.”
In September, Rebert’s defense filed several motions to have Judge John H. Foradora suppress certain pieces of evidence that were introduced by Burkett through cross examination of Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police Tpr. David Ray, the criminal investigation assessment officer. That evidence had to do with warrants for searches of Rebert’s vehicle and home.
Judge John Foradora ordered the prosecution and the defense to file simultaneous briefs on the issue, and he will render a decision Nov. 18.