HOLLIDAYSBURG - The attorney for a man charged with the homicide of a Penn State Altoona student has asked a Blair County judge to exclude evidence in his upcoming trial that showed there was sexual contact between the two at some point before police found the woman's body.
This information "is sought to be introduced for the sole purpose of inflaming the jury," defense attorney Steven P. Passarello said. Passarello is defending Sean Louis Allen, 20, on charges he killed Margo "Maggie" Davis. Davis, 20, was found dead March 3, 2009, in the trunk of her car, police said.
Blair County District Attorney Richard A. Consiglio believes it is relevant information and should be permitted at the trial.
Blair County Judge Tim Sullivan said he will hear arguments from both sides on March 26, according to papers filed this week in the Blair County Prothonotary's Office.
The question raised by Passarello involves what evidence will be allowed during Allen's trial.
Blair County Coroner Patricia Ross ruled that death was due to strangulation. No charges of sexual assault were filed against Allen, a point that Passarello used in attempt to have the evidence barred from the trial.
Forensic tests have revealed that a "sexual event" occurred between Allen and Davis, both attorneys said.
Passarello contends that what investigators cannot do is pinpoint the exact time of Davis' death and, because of that, he said that evidence of a sexual encounter would leave open the question of whether contact occurred before death, as the victim was dying or after death.
"Although it is clear that a sexual event occurred, the evidence that the Commonwealth desires to introduce is speculative in nature and is sought to be only introduced to inflame the jury," court documents state.
Evidence of when the event occurred "is not competent evidence under the law," and has no relevance to the charges against Allen, Passarello said.
Sullivan must decide if the value of the evidence outweighs any prejudice that may occur because of its introduction.
The hearing should not delay Allen's trial, Consiglio and Passarello said. Jury selection is scheduled for March 31 with the trial to begin April 5.