The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 26, 2012

‘Their lives are on hold’: Horner jury awaiting ruling from state Supreme Court

HOLLIDAYSBURG — It took four long, grueling days to select seven women and five men plus two alternates to hear the double homicide case against a former Johnstown man. That was two weeks ago, and those people have in essence had their lives put on hold.

With the issue of an insanity defense for Nicholas Adam Horner now before the state Supreme Court, the question of just how long the jury can be held is beginning to surface.

Instructions to the jury by Blair County President Judge Jolene Kopriva on Jan. 13 following the late-day emergency stay on the signature of one Supreme Court jurist was that the testimony would not begin as planned on Jan. 17, and they are to remain available awaiting further instructions from the court.

Instructions they were given prior to the halt in the trial told them not to discuss anything about their jury duties and refrain from watching news on television or the Internet or reading newspapers.

That means no short trips out of town,  no morning newspaper, cautious television, radio and Internet use and some may be forced to alter previously made plans, say legal experts not involved in the case.

“It’s a bunch of individuals who have not done anything and their lives are on hold,” said University of Pittsburgh law professor John Burkoff.

Horner, 31, a Conemaugh Township, Cambria County, native, is charged in the April 6, 2009, wounding of Michelle Petty, and the shooting deaths of Scott Garlick, 19, and Raymond Williams, 64.

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