By Tom Davidson
Herald Staff Writer
MERCER COUNTY —
Cedric Boyd’s making the most of the time he’s spent in Mercer County Jail.
While awaiting trial on charges he physically and sexually abused the 15-year-old daughter of his girlfriend, Boyd, who’s been in either county jail or state prison for two years, has been acting as ears for prosecutors building their case against the two teens accused of killing popular Farrell bar owner William Basilone Jr. on Dec. 30, 2011.
Boyd’s involvement in the case came out during a hearing Monday, when Mercer County Public Defender Raymond Bogaty asked Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher J. St. John to withdraw the public defender’s representation of Joshua Stewart – the alleged triggerman in the Basilone case – because the office also represented Boyd.
Further, Boyd is now suing the public defender’s office because of its handling of cases against him, Bogaty said.
Because lawyers for the office represented both men after Boyd became what St. John described as a “listening post” for the government, Bogaty asked that they be removed from Stewart’s defense.
St. John disagreed and denied the request.
“If there is a conflict, it would appear rather minor,” the judge said.
Mercer County District Attorney Robert G. Kochems agreed.
St. John likened any appearance of impropriety to that kicked up by the December hiring of former public defender Dan Davis – the lawyer who initially represented Stewart on the homicide charges – by Kochems’ office.
Davis won’t be working the case and is bound by ethics rules from doing so, Kochems has said. Stewart is now represented by James Goodwin.
Prosecutors have made Boyd no promises or deals in exchange for the testimony and written evidence he is said to be able to provide, Kochems said. The evidence was brought to the public defender’s attention recently during the “discovery” process of sharing evidence against people accused of crimes.
Stewart, 19, and Devine Campbell, 18, both formerly of Farrell, may be tried in the case in March, all sides agreed at Monday’s hearing.
Stewart is charged with first- and second-degree murder and is the alleged gunman who authorities say shot the 58-year-old Basilone at least five times. Prosecutors say Campbell was with Stewart at the time and conspired with him to commit the crime.
Both men also face two counts each of robbery and conspiracy in the case, although Basilone wasn’t robbed during the shooting and had $440 in cash, credit cards and a gold ring on him when he was killed.
Campbell was initially represented by his paid attorney Stanley Booker, but J. Jarrett K. Whalen was court-appointed to represent him in the spring.
Stewart and Campbell also face charges in other cases that occurred that December.
Both are charged with robbery and conspiracy in a Dec. 28 robbery at the Wild Game Inn, 1101 Roemer Blvd., Farrell.
Sharon police charged Stewart with robbery and making terroristic threats for allegedly holding up a Sharon man at gunpoint for $36 Dec. 29 in the 300 block of South Oakland Avenue.
Campbell is charged with shooting a Farrell market owner during a robbery Dec. 20.