Attorney questioned in Allen case

An attorney for a Hollidaysburg-area man serving life for killing a Penn State Altoona student four years ago testified Friday that he did not object to many of the alleged “inflammatory” photographs of the victim that were entered into the trial record because they helped make a point for the defense.

Attorney Thomas Hooper spent more than an hour on the witness stand at the behest of attorney Joshua D. Lock of Harrisburg, who now represents convicted killer Sean Allen, 22.

Allen was convicted in September 2010 of first-degree murder for the March 2009 killing of Margo “Maggie” Davis, 20, of Altoona.

Davis was a student at Penn State Altoona who went to visit Allen at a Frankstown Township townhouse where he lived with his father.

Police charged that Allen attempted to sexually assault Davis and in the process murdered her.

Her body was eventually found in the trunk of her car at a nearby apartment complex.

Allen is seeking a new trial, and Judge Timothy M. Sullivan held a hearing on Friday.

Lock presented testimony in an attempt to persuade the judge that Allen’s defense team, including Hooper and attorney Steve Passarello, was ineffective.

One of the major issues Lock brought forward was the lack of challenges by the defense to many photographs of the victim that became part of the trial.

Hooper said that aside from the 25 photos shown to him by Lock, there were hundreds of other photos that the defense team had excluded from the trial.

Several of the photos showed injuries to Davis’ neck and chin, and Lock questioned Hooper whether the defense should have objected to their admission into the trial.

Hooper said he didn’t consider the photos inflammatory and said he thought they were relevant to the case because they helped the defense challenge the prosecution’s contention that Davis was alive when she was sexually assaulted.

The defense also didn’t object to a reference to Allen’s Jewish religion.

Hooper said the comment was part of a text message Allen sent to Davis and said it was not meant to be discriminatory but to simply show the communication that took place between the two just prior to her death.

Lock also objected to the fact Hooper and Passarello did not ask that a search warrant used to collect evidence at Allen’s home be declared defective and that the evidence be barred from the case.

Hooper said the defense could find no grounds to challenge the way the evidence was collected.

Blair County District Attorney Richard A. Consiglio went over the facts stated in the warrant and pointed out its adequacy.

Consiglio also stated many of the photos cited by Lock were never shown to the jury.

Sullivan will rule on the request for a new trial at a later date.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.