Agree­ment clears way for first homi­cide trial since start of pan­demic

The Morning Call - - Front Page - By Lau­rie Mason Schroeder

An Al­len­town homi­cide sus­pect’s ac­qui­es­cence Fri­day to court­room pro­ce­dures de­signed to stem the spread of COVID-19, in­clud­ing wear­ing a mask in front of a jury, has cleared the way for the first homi­cide trial at the Le­high County Court­house since the pan­demic be­gan.

Alexan­der Acosta-Quezada, 26, is charged with crim­i­nal homi­cide in the March 29, 2019, death of Yosan­dra Munoz-Cor­po­ran, 27, of Al­len­town. His trial is set to be­gin Oct. 26.

Dur­ing a pre­trial hear­ing be­fore Judge Dou­glas G. Re­ich­ley, Acosta-Quezada said he did not ob­ject to wear­ing a mask in court, hav­ing ju­rors spread through­out the court­room to fa­cil­i­tate so­cial dis­tanc­ing, and hav­ing a livestream video of his trial played in an­other court­room for spec­ta­tors and the press.

Those pro­ce­dures are be­ing con­tested by at least one other homi­cide sus­pect. There has only been one jury trial in Le­high County since March.

Po­lice say Acosta-Quezada stabbed Munoz-Cor­po­ran, the mother of his two chil­dren, with a bro­ken golf club dur­ing an ar­gu­ment that be­gan when she was late pick­ing up their chil­dren from his home.

The main fo­cus of Fri­day’s hear­ing was graphic au­topsy pho­tos that Deputy District At­tor­ney Kevin P. Mc­Closkey

in­tends to show the jury, which Acosta-Quezada’s at­tor­ney, Robert Sletvold, has ob­jected to.

The pho­tos are nec­es­sary, Mc­Closkey ar­gued, be­cause of the un­usual na­ture of Munoz-Cor­po­ran’s fa­tal in­jury. Doc­tors say the golf club han­dle en­tered her thigh and then tore through her ab­domen, rip­ping open an artery be­fore dent­ing her spine.

Mc­Closkey said the pho­tos are re­quired to prove Acosta’s in­tent to kill. “We need to show the force with which the de­fen­dant drove this golf club into the vic­tim’s thigh. The jury needs to see th­ese pho­tos. They’re pow­er­ful,” Mc­Closkey said.

Acosta-Quezada is charged with crim­i­nal homi­cide in Munoz-Cor­po­ran’s death, and as­sault and crim­i­nal mis­chief in con­nec­tion with a fight he’s ac­cused of hav­ing with her boyfriend dent. dur­ing the same inci

If con­victed, Acosta-Quezada could be sen­tenced to life in prison with no chance of pa­role. He is be­ing held in county jail with­out bail.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, Acosta was en­raged be­cause Munoz-Cor­po­ran was late, and as soon as she showed up to his homein the 100 block of South West Street in the pas­sen­ger seat of her boyfriend’s car, he pulled her out by her hair and punched her in the face. He then fought with her boyfriend and smashed two win­dows of the car with a golf club, po­lice say, which broke in half. Munoz-Cor­po­ran grabbed Acosta-Quezada from be­hind, po­lice said, and he swung back­ward with the han­dle, hit­ting her in the thigh. She ran down the street, but soon col­lapsed be­tween two parked cars and died.

In court Fri­day, Acosta-Quezada said the killing was an ac­ci­dent.

“I know that no other hu­man be­ing has the right to take an­other per­son’s life, es­pe­cially the mother of his chil­dren,” he said.

Re­ich­ley said he will rule on the de­fense ob­jec­tions to the use of spe­cific au­topsy pho­tos be­fore jury se­lec­tion starts. On Oct. 22, the judge will hear ar­gu­ments from homi­cide sus­pect Ant­wan Wash­ing­ton’s coun­sel in con­nec­tion to Wash­ing­ton’s ob­jec­tions to COVID-19 trial pro­ce­dures.

Wash­ing­ton, 27, of Al­len­town is charged with with homi­cide, two countsof at­tempted homi­cide­and two counts of ag­gra­vated as­sault in the July 31, 2018, death of 16-year-old Dieruff High School stu­dent Carolina Mon­santo, and the wound­ing of a 31-year-old wo­man and a 19-year-old man dur­ing the same shoot­ing.

Among Wash­ing­ton’s com­plaints is that he will be re­quired to wear a mask dur­ing the trial, and that it will make­him look guilty.

His at­tor­neys also raised is­sues about the fair­ness of jury se­lec­tion dur­ing a pan­demic.

It un­clear how any rul­ing in Wash­ing­ton’s case would af­fect Acosta-Quezada’s trial.

CONTRIBUTE­DPHOTO/ LISSETTE GRULL

Alexan­derA­costa-Quezado did not ob­ject to COVID-19 pro­ce­dures dur­ing his up­com­ing homi­cide trial. He is ac­cused of fa­tally stab­bing 27-year-old Yosan­dra MunozCor­po­ran (pic­tured) with a bro­ken golf club.

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