Upcoming homicide trials fill county court schedule

MAYVILLE – Three homicide trials in the next seven months are keeping Chautauqua County’s district attorney and public defender busy.

First on tap next month is the high-profile second-degree murder trial for Anthony R. Taglianetti II.

The manslaughter trial for Theodore S. Wickham slated to begin this month was pushed back to October and could receive another delay due to a full court calendar.

And in March, the four suspects indicted in the town of Carroll double homicide are expected to be in court.

“We are covering a heavy calendar at the moment,” said Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley. “It does create some complicated scheduling.”

Jury selection in the slain Clymer Schools superintendent case is scheduled to begin Sept. 17 in county court. Foley said jury selection could take more than two weeks, and he expects his case to last 2 weeks as well.

“It really depends on the number of witnesses,” said Foley, pointing out that investigators and experts from Virginia likely would be brought in to testify. “It’s part of my job as district attorney to corral all of these people. Right now we’re looking at 40-45 witnesses.”

Taglianetti appeared in court last month for pre-trial hearings on evidence and identification. The former Dale City, Va., resident is charged with driving to New York and shooting Keith Reed Jr. over an alleged affair between the superintendent and Taglianetti’s wife.

Police named Taglianetti a suspect in the Sept. 21, 2012, murder of Reed. He was taken into custody days later in Virginia, and in December was extradited to Chautauqua County.

Wickham, meanwhile, already has seen his trial pushed back once. The former Dunkirk resident was charged after Frank T. Slate Jr. was found shot to death in September 2012 on Porter Avenue in Fredonia.

The trial could be delayed again, however. “As soon as we’re done with the Taglianetti case we’ll just roll into the next one,” Foley said.

Scheduled for a March 11 trial date are Davide Coggins, 34; Joshua McCormick, 21; Ricky Knickerbocker, 18; and Steven Todd, 19. Coggins and McCormick were indicted on first-degree murder, while Knickerbocker and Todd were indicted on second-degree murder charges.

First responders on April 17 found the bodies of Gordon and Joyce Skinner inside their burning residence on Wheeler Hill Road. The four suspects, all from the Elmira area, were located a day later.

According to Foley, the double homicide case is still in the early stages; evidence for the prosecution recently was handed over to attorneys representing the four men.

“There is still a lot to do in that case. We’re still going over a lot at this point,” the district attorney said.

Public Defender Ned Barone is representing Taglianetti, Wickham and Coggins in the homicide trials.