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KOS SLAYING Judge rules against a mistrial



Published: Sun, February 9, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The defendant told his girlfriend's parents he feared they would be hurt if he tried to stop the murder.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The murder trial of a Struthers man hit a five-hour delay after his attorney asked for a mistrial.

Judge J. Craig Cox of Lawrence County Common Pleas Court denied the motion made in the homicide trial of Perry S. Ricciardi, 22, after a conference with attorneys Wednesday.

Defense attorney Dennis A. Elisco said he asked for the mistrial after state's witness June Galbraith said something while under oath that was a surprise to both the defense and prosecution.

Elisco said the judge eventually decided that what was said would not prejudice either side and testimony continued.

Elisco would not explain what part of Galbraith's testimony was a surprise.

Ricciardi lived with Galbraith and her family in Struthers shortly before his arrest in October 2000.

Ricciardi, along with William Monday, 23, and David Garvey, 22, also of Struthers, were accused in the Oct. 8, 2000, stabbing death of 12-year-old Shannon Leigh Kos of Youngstown.

About the case

Police said the men took her to a secluded section of Mahoning Township, Lawrence County, and attempted to rape her before her throat was slit and she was stabbed multiple times. Her body was burned sometime later.

Monday pleaded guilty last year to homicide charges and is serving a life sentence in prison; Garvey is awaiting trial.

All three were charged with criminal homicide, criminal conspiracy to commit homicide, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, conspiracy to commit rape and abuse of a corpse. Ricciardi could face the death penalty if convicted of the homicide charges.

Galbraith and her husband, Gerard, both now of Youngstown, said Ricciardi came to their home shortly before his arrest and told them of his involvement with Shannon's death.

Police had been to their home earlier that evening asking their daughter, Stephanie, who has a child with Ricciardi, if she knew anything about the murder.

Mr. and Mrs. Galbraith said they were in shock when police informed them that Ricciardi was a suspect in the homicide.

Details given to family

When Ricciardi came home later that night, Gerard Galbraith said Ricciardi gave them details of Shannon's death as the entire family questioned him.

"He thought they were going to party and the events happened," Galbraith said. "What stuck in my mind was how [Ricciardi explained that] Billy and Dave killed the girl."

Galbraith said Ricciardi described how Monday slit Shannon's throat and Garvey kicked her.

Galbraith added that Ricciardi said he did nothing to stop it because he feared Monday would kill him or hurt someone in the Galbraith household.

Mrs. Galbraith said Ricciardi told the family that Monday and Garvey went back sometime after the murder to burn Shannon's body.

She also testified that Ricciardi later told the family that he pulled down Shannon's pants in the rape attempt and that Monday asked him to say "yes or no" to the decision to rape and kill the 12-year-old.

She was unsure if he revealed those things the night of his arrest or sometime later.

cioffi@vindy.com




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