Dickey asks for aid to hire three experts in Ross case

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Paul Aaron Ross’ lead attorney asked Friday that three expert witnesses be appointed to help the defense in the homicide case.

Attorney Thomas M. Dickey’s request for expert witnesses was a follow-up to a status conference held Tuesday before Blair County President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva in which she laid out a schedule of events that it is hoped will lead to an October trial for the 41-year-old Ross.

Ross is charged with killing Tina S. Miller, 26, of Hollidaysburg in the summer of 2004.

Her body was found on the morning of June 26, 2004, at Canoe Creek State Park in Frankstown Township.

Ross was convicted of the crime in 2005, but the Pennsylvania Superior Court ordered a retrial because Dickey convinced the appeals court he didn’t have enough time to properly prepare his defense. The court also cited improper testimony by three of Ross’ former girlfriends who took the stand during his three-week trial.

One of Dickey’s complaints concerning the first trial was that he didn’t have time to review the evidence with expert witnesses for the defense.

His requests Friday for the appointment of experts will give him about three months to review the evidence against Ross and present it to them for analysis.

Dickey has asked that Dr. Eric Lee Vey, a forensic pathologist from Erie, be appointed to aid the defense. Vey serves as a forensic pathologist for Erie, Cameron, Clarion, Jefferson and several other counties in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Dickey has also asked that Richard Saferstein of Mount Laurel, N.J., be named as his expert in the interpretation of DNA evidence. Saferstein is also an expert in toxicology, pharmacology and drug and alcohol abuse.

The third expert Dickey has requested is Michael N. Sobel. He is an expert in bite marks.

Ross, according to evidence presented at the 2005 trial, met the victim at a Hollidaysburg tavern and then went to a private party where she was present.

She was found partially submerged and brutalized in the park lake. Her injuries included a bite mark and evidence of sexual assault.

The petitions filed Friday at the Blair County Courthouse ask Kopriva to order the appointment of experts. They will be paid by the county because Ross, an inmate at the Mahanoy State Correction Institution, has no money.

The judge will have to establish a fee schedule for each expert.

The defense is scheduled to review the prosecution’s evidence against Ross this coming week, a first step before bringing in the experts.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.