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NEW CASTLE Retrial begins in murder case



Published: Thu, April 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The judge still must decide if a forensic pathologist can testify at the trial.

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Opening statements in the murder retrial of Thomas H. Kimbell are expected to start Friday morning.

Kimbell, 40, is accused in the 1994 stabbing deaths of Bonnie Lou Dryfuse, 34, her two daughters, Jacqueline, 7, and Heather, 4, and her niece, Stephanie Herko, 5, at Dryfuse's trailer in Pulaski Township.

Kimbell was previously convicted of the murders, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted him a new trial because Kimbell's attorney was not permitted to cross-examine a key witness during the first trial.

The selection of 12 jurors and four alternate jurors ended Wednesday afternoon after more than week.

Testimony

Judge Dominick Motto of Lawrence County Common Pleas Court is presiding over the case. He has still not determined if forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu can testify for the defense.

Prosecutors contend that Omalu's testimony will be based on opinion and not scientific fact.

Omalu said at a pretrial hearing that Kimbell was likely not the killer because none of his DNA was found by investigators.

Anthony Krastek of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office is prosecuting the case because of a conflict of interest in the county district attorney's office.

District Attorney Matthew Mangino previously had represented Kimbell in a criminal matter before Mangino was elected district attorney.

The trial is expected to last about two to three weeks.




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