HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Scranton-area native who has been waiting for more than three years for trial on attempted homicide charges may attempt to convince a jury he was legally insane when he fired 21 shots into the Logan Township home of his estranged girlfriend.
Joseph B. Olecki has been in custody since March 16, 2009, when police arrested him along Mill Run Road.
They allegedly found a rifle, 500 rounds of ammunition and several pipe bombs in his vehicle.
The arrest ended a weekend of violence, according to the charges against Olecki.
He faces attempted homicide for shooting into the home and attempted homicide charges in Scranton for allegedly shooting two people there just hours after the Blair County shooting.
In addition, he faces charges stemming from his possession of the rifle, ammunition and pipe bombs.
Since his arrest, Olecki has spent time in the Blair and Lackawanna county jails and in Norristown State Hospital, where he was sent for a competency evaluation.
After therapists at Norristown were able to stabilize his mental health condition, he was declared competent earlier this year to stand trial.
Olecki and his attorney, Joel Peppetti of Altoona, went before Blair County Judge Hiram A. Carpenter Tuesday morning to request a jury from outside the county, the appointment of a psychiatrist to determine if Olecki was legally insane during the crime spree and the appointment of an investigator to aid in the preparation of the defense.
Carpenter placed the request for an out-of-county jury on hold, stating that in Blair County it is standard procedure to at least attempt to select a local jury.
If an impartial jury cannot be found locally due to excessive publicity, attempts will be made to select the jury from another county, Carpenter ruled.
Peppetti said that the only defense in the Olecki case may be insanity or guilty but mentally ill.
He said the primary question in the crime spree may be "not what happened, but why."
Olecki was initially examined by a psychiatrist from the Scranton area, Dr. Richard Fischbein of nearby Kingston.
Carpenter ordered Olecki be transported to Scranton to allow Fischbein to complete the evaluation he began when Olecki was arrested. He said Blair County would pay the $2,000 for the mental health exam.
Blair County Assistant District Attorney Deanne Paul said she wanted the examination done within 60 days, and Carpenter agreed to include that condition in his order.
Carpenter also agreed to appoint private investigator Edgar F. Linton Jr. of Altoona to interview eyewitnesses to Olecki's offenses and ordered the county to set aside $750 for Linton.
In addition, Carpenter agreed to sever the illegal possession of a firearm charge from the attempted homicide charges, so the jury will not know about Olecki's record.
Olecki's next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 17, which means he could come to trial as early as October.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.