DNA evidence on the murder weapon was inconclusive, police said.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The defense begins presenting its case Monday to show that Perry S. Ricciardi II, 22, did not kill a 12-year-old Youngstown girl.
Prosecutors rested their case Friday against the former Struthers man accused in the slaying of Shannon Kos.
Ricciardi was arrested and jailed in October 2000 after Shannon's body was discovered in a secluded section of Mahoning Township, Lawrence County. She had been stabbed multiple times and her throat slit. Her body was also burned.
Ricciardi, along with William Monday, 23, and David Garvey, 22, both formerly of Struthers, were charged with criminal homicide, criminal conspiracy to commit homicide, conspiracy to commit rape, kidnapping, unlawful restraint and abuse of a corpse.
Monday pleaded guilty to homicide charges last year and is serving a life sentence; Garvey is awaiting trial.
Jail counselor Jason Hilton said that Ricciardi asked to speak to him after other inmates made threatening statements to him.
"He said if the inmates knew what really happened they wouldn't be making those statements," Hilton said.
Hilton added that Ricciardi went on to tell him about the slaying and events leading up to it.
Similar to earlier account
The account given to Hilton was similar to one Ricciardi made on a tape for Pennsylvania State Police shortly before his arrest.
He said Garvey, Monday and Shannon picked him up at his home Oct. 8, 2000, and the three eventually ended up in Lawrence County, where they intended to party.
Things changed when Monday suggested to Ricciardi that they rape and kill Shannon because no one knew her whereabouts, Hilton said.
Ricciardi said he eventually agreed to go along with the plan and pulled Shannon's pants down, Hilton said. Ricciardi then changed his mind and ran off as he saw Monday slicing Shannon's throat with a knife and heard thumping as she was stabbed multiple times, the jail counselor said.
The jail counselor also testified that Ricciardi said that Monday and Garvey told Ricciardi they returned sometime after the killing and set Shannon's body on fire.
Prosecutors spent the earlier part of Friday's testimony outlining police evidence.
DNA tests inconclusive
Officers testified DNA testing was inconclusive on the murder weapon, which had to be fished out of Lake Hamilton in Struthers by the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department's dive team.
The search for the knife took three days and was eventually found in 25 feet of water, said state Trooper Darrell Horton.
Mark Mogle, a forensic scientist for the state police, said there was only a small amount of blood found on the knife and it wasn't enough for testing. DNA testing also was inconclusive, police said.