NORWICH – Peter Wlasiuk’s second trial for the alleged murder of his wife will begin Monday as planned, Broome County Judge Martin Smith ruled this afternoon.
Despite public defender Randel Scharf’s lengthy list of reasons requesting another adjournment in the retrial, Judge Smith remained adamant that jury selection will begin Monday morning at the Chenango County Courthouse.
Wlasiuk, 39, is charged with second degree murder in the 2002 death of his wife Patricia, whose body was found in Guilford Lake after what appeared to be a truck accident. Police later claimed Wlasiuk killed his wife at their Oxford home, and staged the Guilford Lake accident to cover it up. A jury convicted Wlasiuk of murder in 2003, but that decision was overturned on appeal in 2006.
Scharf’s request for a postponement of the trial was based on several instances of what he claimed were the prosecution’s failure to provide certain documents, included among them 911 call logs, coroner’s reports and funeral home records. District Attorney Joseph McBride repeatedly claimed that the defense had copies of, or access to, all the evidence Scharf had requested.
Judge Smith did order that the Chenango County Sheriff’s Department turn over another vial of Patricia Wlasiuk’s blood to the defense’s medical expert for further testing. Scharf said traces of a muscle relaxant, cyclobenzaprine, were found in her blood, and his expert witness’ further testing might reveal new evidence as to the cause and/or time of Patricia Wlasiuk’s death.
Scharf contended that until his witness had time to make a final determination, he would be unable to properly formulate a defense for Wlasiuk. Smith disagreed, saying Scharf had more than adequate time to gather evidence and prepare his arguments, and that any findings by the medical expert wouldn’t come into play at trial for at least two weeks. Additionally, Smith ordered that the further testing of Patricia’s blood be complete post haste.
More details from Monday afternoon’s proceedings will appear in Tuesday’s Evening Sun.