BROOKVILLE — An Emporium man facing charges for the double murder of a Snyder Township couple last year wants a new judge for his trial, because the presiding judge resides in the same area.
Monday, Steven Patrick Rebert filed a petition in the Court of Common Pleas to have Judge John H. Foradora, who resides in Brockway, removed from the case, according to the Jeffersonian Democrat.
Foradora declined the request.
Assistant Public Defender Jacqueline Mizerock asked Foradora to recuse himself from the case based on his ability to fairly view any of the 40 search warrants he signed during the investigation, and on his ability to be impartial based on his familiarity with the victims, Wayne and Vicky Shugar of Brockway.
But Foradora said although he shared the same “address town” of the Shugars, he didn’t know them personally and didn’t think he had even been in their flower shop in town, except perhaps for Mothers’ Day.
“I’m just not a flower kind of guy,” Foradora said.
He said he must judge himself on two standards: to see if he can be fair, and to see if “any reasonable person off the street would be able to discern and judge fairly the facts presented,” the newspaper said.
“It is always interesting to judge yourself,” Foradora said. “I have done that, and I feel I can be fair.”
The Shugars were found dead in the basement of their home on Coal Tipple Road, Snyder Township, on April 12, 2010.
Rebert, who could also be facing homicide charges in his native New York state, is charged with two counts each of criminal homicide and aggravated assault and one count of burglary, one count of robbery and one count of theft.
The Democrat said Foradora noted that a change of venue may be considered at a future time, but jury selection in Rebert’s trial isn’t even scheduled until Jan. 9, 2012. District Attorney Jeff Burkett has said he will pursue the death penalty for Rebert.