YOUNGSTOWN Jury selection begins in cop-slaying trial
Another murder case also got under way Tuesday.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Jurors in the trial of Martin L. Koliser Jr., who is accused of killing a policeman, will hear only part of the evidence prosecutors have against him. A judge will hear the rest.
Selection of jurors began Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, where Koliser, 30, of Boardman, faces charges of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder. The process is expected to last up to three weeks.
Authorities say he shot 23-year-old Donell J. Rowe in the chest during an argument outside a Mahoning Avenue bar in April. Rowe was critically injured but survived.
Koliser also is accused of killing Youngstown patrolman Michael T. Hartzell some two hours after Rowe was shot. Hartzell was shot at point-blank range as he sat in his cruiser on West Federal Street.
If convicted of killing Hartzell, Koliser could face the death penalty.
Koliser also faces charges of escape and illegally possessing a firearm, and was to face trial on those charges as well once a jury is seated.
But according to court documents filed Tuesday, he has waived his right to have those charges heard by a jury and will instead have them decided by Judge R. Scott Krichbaum after the murder trial.
The one-paragraph document is signed by Koliser, Prosecutor Paul Gains, assistant prosecutor Jay Macejko and defense attorneys Jerry McHenry and William Mooney. McHenry and Mooney are from the Ohio Public Defender's Office.
Lawyers declined to explain why Koliser waived a jury trial for the lesser charges.
Jury selection also began Tuesday in the courtroom of Judge James C. Evans, where 38-year-old Michael J. Hogan of Boardman is to be tried on a murder charge in the May 2002 death of a 71-year-old Struthers man.
Prosecutors say Hogan ran over John Ruble, who was trying to get back his wife's purse, which had been stolen moments earlier. The homicide happened in Boardman, where the Rubles were dropping off materials at a recycling site on South Avenue.
Testimony in Hogan's trial is expected to begin today.