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Final preparations made for Petroski trial

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From page A3 | March 25, 2013 |

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RICHARD PETROSKI sits in the courthouse on March 22. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

A hearing for a man suspected of killing his stepfather outlined the beginning of the trial and dealt with pretrial motions.

Richard Kenneth Petroski sat with a smirk on his face as Judge James R. Wagoner outlined the days meant to select a jury, starting on March 26. Wagoner was hopeful that by March 28, a full jury will have been selected, and opening statements would kick off the trial on the morning of April 2. The trial is estimated to take between two and three weeks.

Defense attorney Mark Ralphs and deputy district attorney James Clinchard then went over pretrial in limine — without jury — motions concerning items including which prior convictions would be used and how to address John Malia, who Petroski allegedly killed.

After a total of 11 motions were dealt with, Wagoner confirmed with Clinchard that any plea deals that had been offered were no longer on the table. Clinchard affirmed that, after this hearing, the offers would no longer be available. Wagoner asked Petroski if he understood this and that it would mean going to trial and Petroski replied, “Yes, sir; I’m ready.”

Petroski is accused of killing Malia, 69, on Dec. 4, 2011. Petroski allegedly used a .22 caliber rifle. Afterward, Petroski attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head while Amy Settle, who also lived on the property, tried to call 911. Malia died at Marshall Hospital later that day from a gunshot wound to the head. Petroski, failing the suicide attempt, turned himself in when deputies arrived and remains in custody.

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