Judge Refuses To Issue Gag Order In Capital Murder Case

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A Beaver County Judge has refused a request by prosecutors to issue a gag order in a capital murder case, according to multiple confidential sources.

President Judge John D. McBride declined a request this week by Assistant District Attorney Frank Martocci to issue a gag order in the trials of Joseph Michael Arlott and Beau William Chermer. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against the two men, who they say tortured eighty-two year old Daniel Joseph Santia of Hopewell Township last April during a robbery. Santia died three weeks following the attack.

Beaver County Coroner Teri Tatalovich-Rossi determined Santia died of blunt force trauma to the head and ruled his death a homicide. But a report issued by forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht determined that Santia died of a heart attack, not head trauma, and that his death was not a result of injuries he received during the robbery. Wecht had been hired as a private consultant by the Beaver County Public Defender’s Office, and his report has not been released to the public.

Following an article in the Beaver Countian that first disclosed Wecht’s finding, the District Attorney’s Office conducted an informal investigation to determine who provided the information to the press. Several criminal defense attorneys were questioned by prosecutors and Judge McBride about the disclosure.

But at a pretrial conference held earlier this week to discuss the Beaver Countian’s report, President Judge McBride refused prosecutors’ request to issue a gag order in the case. Judge McBride also told attorneys he never had any intention of issuing subpoenas in an attempt to determine who the Beaver Countian’s confidential sources were.

23 comments

  • And this surprises who? This Judge always has more sympathy for the criminal than for the victims. He is another one that has to GO!

  • Judge McBride is a fair man OhBrother doesn’t know what hes talking about.

    A gag order wasnt granted because it wasn’t warranted that simple.

    Btw looks like JP won a high stakes game of poker against old Berosh here LOL!

    • To all those people who just the other day were telling JP that he didn’t know what he was talking about……HA-HA

  • “Not related to head trauma”. Just wondering how many autopsies have been rigged and lives messed up by our coroner. Sounds like the same ole story. Here its a coroner and not a policeman or judge. Not related to head trauma means either the autopsy wasn’t performed or it wasn’t performed by a coroner. From her finding, seems to me its like giving a kindergartener an algebra problem to figure out. Doesn’t seem like a mistake a seasoned coroner would make. Something ain’t right right there. Nice work to the Public Defenders who requested a second opinion. Are the Sheriff and the Coroner related? They seem to be looking a lot alike from my viewpoint today.

    • Go back to J.D. Prose and the BCT website where you belong “Criminal”. Don’t need your racist B.S. on this site, because it’s just a matter of time before you play that ever loving race card of yours. Might not be with this story, but it’s coming. Now get lost you troglodyte.

      • See? You’re one of those people who don’t see the revolution in this country going on, and that makes you a part of the problem the revolution is going to solve, a Tea Party minded person in other words. I’m not racist, I’m real. I wave todays American Flag, you still holding on to that tattered and outdated Confederate flag. I don’t blame you. Its not your fault, its your parents and their parents, and theirs, and so on. Thats probably why you’re so bitter. Ignorance is bliss. Bet you have all kinds of bad names to call Obama and Holder. Those days are gone. Wonder how many bills you and twenty like you know of collectively that Obama passed in these past few years? Even more curious about how many you don’t know about, LOL. Otis Redding said it best when he said “Change Is Gonna Come”, and thats with you or rolled over you. How did you jump to racism from a paragraph talking about possible corruption? I said all that to say also that Holder is going against the grain. He’s about to make everyone employed by his department to be held accountable for their actions. The old ways are soon going to be a thing of the past. A misdiagnosis like the one your County Coroner made will cost them dearly sometime in the near future. See why I call myself real and not racist? Take a look at all of the court decisions being handed down as of late. Its REVOLUTION. Pretty soon, the things you think you know won’t apply anymore. MLK Jr., was a Prophet, and his people(Obama, etc.) are making his prophesies a reality, and when it happens, people like you won’t even notice it. Do yourself a favor and come out of the Confederacy. Join todays America. Be REAL, not bitter and racist, and this country will be fine.

      • I knew it was a matter of time before the “racist card” got thrown out there. Just like he used to do on the BCT before they started charging, and he couldn’t afford to pay to express his outdated and redundant “opinion”
        Those who have nothing intellegent to add will then try to stir up shit in the pot. Such a shame.
        Don’t worry, he’ll have something to say about my opinion, along the lines of “flatulence this, etc etc”. Same boring diatribe, different website.

      • You people are sooo predictable!!! Who played a race card? You idiots are playing the race cards, and I call you idiots because youre not smart enough to realize that that game you play has been mapped. Like I said above, its a thing of the past. Both of your comments are dealing with the past. I knew it would be a matter of time before your ignorance started shining through. Not to worry though. To those that make a difference, what you two, and people like you, think or say, it doesn’t make a difference. Your ways are outdated. Be smarter. Look around and realize that your like-minded crowd is getting smaller by the day. You call what I’m telling you racism. We all know your/that game. Idiots can’t process and accept wisdom. Keep waving that Confederate flag. LOL :lol:

      • Also, I was posting here before you idiots even knew the site existed. :yawn:

      • WOW……hey Vondell, are you related to a certain poster that was recently banned from here?
        The only reason I ask, is because listening to you rant on and on, it’s starting to sound awfully familiar. Almost like a “watered down” version. How sad.

      • He can’t go back to the BCT because they charge him for the privledge of expressing his “opinion”, whereas JP does not. So, I think we may be stuck with him for a while. Sadly….ugh. :annoyedreply:

  • that last name is T,A,—–Tolo,,,,,,Vichhhhh and the schil is toneeeeeeeeeeeee beeeeeeeeroooooooosssshhhhh and some blogggger stumped there assssssssssss

  • I can’t see why they would bother asking for a gag order, considering that most of the citizens in Beaver County know more about the case than the DA and the judges. It’s basically closing the barn door after the horses have escaped…..
    They should have lobbied for a gag order at the very beginning, before it was too late. Beaver County people gossip worse than the popular cliques in high school!
    Then again, hindsight is 20/20. Hopefully, the DA learns from this very costly mistake….
    but knowing the justice system here, I doubt ANYONE has learned a damned thing.
    Oh well, eventually it’ll just be the setting for a mistrial after all this is over.

    • Exact same thoughts I had on this. I can understand why the DA would want a gag order, to prevent tainting the opinion of jurors and such. However, why the hell wait until after information was out then decide to be concerned about it? Makes no sense. Did Berosh not have the good sense to consider what may happen with the release of information in a capital case?

      Not to mention, no judge in their right mind is going to go back after the fact and order someone to reveal their sources. Besides that, who cares what the source was? There was no gag order barring the source from sharing the information.

      Bottom line: Berosh’s office dropped the ball, and now they are looking to cover their asses. This process always begins with intimidation and finger pointing, just as it has in this case. Berosh is just laying the groundwork so that he has content to begin writing his press release regarding his office loosing in this case.

      • If I am not mistaken, which I have been before, and if I am now, please correct me, but if a mistrial is declared, doesn’t Barosh have the opportunity to refile the charges? He may not like what Dr. Wecht has to say, which I can understand, because it destroys his argument for premeditated murder.
        Hypothetically speaking ONLY, IF there is a mistrial declared, that gives the DA’s office another bite at the apple, so to speak. AND it also gives him extra time to do a bit more research, maybe hire a different expert or two, and basically have his argument already set to go, since he’ll get to hear what the defense has to say, and he’ll know how they will be presenting their defense.
        One would almost think that he is sabotaging HIMSELF and his case, so that he can basically “cheat” and have a heads up on how the defense will be presenting their case. Personally, to me, sabotage is what it looks and sounds like to me.
        I wouldn’t put any kind of dirty tricks past anyone that holds a law degree in Beaver County, ESPECIALLY THE DA. He has tremendous pressure on him from so many sides, that I wouldn’t put it past the DA’s office to pull every dirty trick out of the book and use it.
        Bear in mind- this is totally hypothetical and purely speculation…..

  • It just comes down to who convinces a jury their expert is right. Beaver county coroner only review the autopsy findings that were performed by a doctor after the death of this poor victim. Dr. Welch fee is being paid for by us the tax payers and he will always provide a different finding for the right price. Just think about that and then think how many innocent people he has put in jail or the guilty ones he has gotten off for his pursuit of the almighty dollar.

    • Same thing goes for your County Coroner. Only way to settle this, it seems, is to have a third opinion. Knowing Beaver County makes me more inclined to believe Mr. Wechts findings.

  • Could the physical stress of the beating have been too much for the elderly gentleman’s heart to take? Wouldnt that be a direct result?

    • Please don’t think I am trying to start an argument, but as with your thinking that the assault was too much for the elderly man to endure, the other side can argue that if he was going to have issues because of the attack, they would have happened sooner, not 3 weeks later in the hospital.
      Also, they can argue his advanced age. I don’t know his medical history, so I don’t know if he had a history of heart related problems. The heart attack could have been brought on by that.
      Like I said, I’m not trying to pick a fight, just trying to look at it from both sides (prosecutor and defense), that’s all.

  • Well, well, well. Seems like Frankie boy got trumped on this one! How can you have Wecht as your expert witness in one case and in the next one challenge him as an expert????? Sounds like they will be in a pickle!!! Beaver County’s finest!!!! And my tax dollars are paying for this?… UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!!!!!

  • TRUST AND BELIEVE JUDGE MCBRIDE DOES IN NO WAY FAVOR THE CRIMINAL. EVERY CONVICT IN THE COUNTY DREADS GOING BEFORE HIM. IT IS ALWAYS A GOOD THING WHEN SOMEONE IS PAYING CLOSE ATT TO THE LAW HOWEVER BECAUSE JUDGES TEND TO FORGET THEIR SENTENCING GUIDELINES WHEN THEY THINK NOONES LOOKING! THAT WAY THEY CAN DO WATEVER THEY WANT AND LATEr be order to follow regulations like everyone else

    • Bullshit. He USED to be “the hanging judge” but he’s gone soft. The ONLY good thing he’s done lately was order that punk from BF be tried as an adult for shooting that young mother in front of her house. Otherwise, he’s USELESS.