HOLLIDAYSBURG - Both prosecution and defense attorneys have asked that Nicholas A. Horner's medical reports be turned over to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to aid with its decision to either bar or permit an insanity defense in his upcoming double homicide trial.
The reports have been placed under seal by Blair County President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva, who will preside over the Horner trial.
Thomas M. Dickey, one of Horner's defense attorneys, on Wednesday requested that the reports be transferred to the Supreme Court in Pittsburgh to help the justices decide the appropriateness of an insanity defense.
Dickey and his co-counsel, David DeFazio of Pittsburgh, decided in December to file a notice of an insanity defense for Horner, 31, who is charged with killing two and wounding a third person during the April 6, 2009, robbery at the Subway sandwich shop on 58th Street in Altoona.
At the request of Deputy District Attorneys Wade Kagarise and Jackie Bernard, Kopriva excluded the insanity defense because Horner was allegedly under the influence of prescription drugs and alcohol when he committed the crimes.
Dickey requested a stay of jury selection, which was granted Friday, to give the Supreme Court time to review the case and decide if insanity should be permitted.
The prosecution on Tuesday answered the defense petition for reinstatement of the insanity defense. In a footnote in its nine-page petition, the prosecutors stated that copies of the report penned by psychologist Ernest Boswell of Minnesota, who contends Horner didn't know right from wrong when he committed the robbery and the killings, were not included in documents transferred by the defense to the Supreme Court.
The prosecution maintained that Boswell's report was "essential" to understanding the case.
Dickey agreed Wednesday when he filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to request not only Boswell's report but also a toxicology report by Robert Middleberg of Willow Grove.
The two reports focus on Horner's mental health condition and his state of alcohol and drug intoxication at the time of the Subway robbery.
Subway employee Scott Garlick, 19, of Hollidaysburg was killed in the robbery, while employee Michele Petty was shot in the hip, police said. Raymond Williams, 64, was killed during Horner's attempt to flee.