Tuesday, August 4, 2015

No to no-snitching video

A Chester County Court judge ruled recently that a video featuring a murder defendant is too prejudicial for jurors to see.

No to no-snitching video

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Chester County jurors who hear the capital murder case against a 29-year-old Coatesville man will not experience his theatrical side, a judge ruled.

Chester County Court Judge David F. Bortner Jr. granted a pretrail motion filed by defense attorney Evan Kelly that prohibits Deputy District Attorney Ronald C. Yen from showing a "Stop Snitching" video at trial. The Dramah Film Productions video, purportedly made in March 2005, features Shamone F. Woods and a co-defendant, Duron "Gotti" Peoples and is replete with references to "prison, drugs, weapons, and other crimes," the judge wrote.

Yen wanted to use the video, which includes profanities directed at snitches and vows of fatal vengeance against them, to illustrate Woods' proclivity toward violence. Bortner responded that "the probative value is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice ..." The judge also cited a lack of information about what prompted the video: "whether it was created for entertainment purposes or as a vehicle with which to deliver" an anti-snitching message to the community.

 Woods is accused of a 2006 murder-for-hire plot. Police said he conspired with Duron "Gotti" Peoples to arrange the fatal shooting of Jonas "Sonny" Suber on Oct. 21, 2006 at Suber's Coatesville home. The trial is expected to start next year.

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About this blog
Aubrey Whelan covers Chester County for the Inquirer. A native of a Philadelphia suburb so small it doesn't have a zip code, she grew up reading the Inquirer and was thrilled to take a job there in fall 2012. Previously, she covered crime, courts and D.C.'s Occupy movement for the Washington Examiner. Aubrey graduated from Penn State in 2011, where she worked for the award-winning campus newspaper and majored in journalism and French. Contact her at 215-495-5855 or awhelan@philly.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/aubreyjwhelan.

Aubrey Whelan
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