- Associated Press - Friday, August 1, 2014

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) - Brain injuries may have been a factor in the actions of a western Pennsylvania man charged in the stabbing death of his estranged girlfriend 2½ years ago, his defense attorney said.

Jordan Clemons, 25, is charged in Washington County in the death of Karissa Kunco, 21, whose body was found in a wooded area of Mount Pleasant Township in January 2012.

Deputy public defender Brian Gorman said the defense has evidence of possible brain injuries or “post-concussion syndrome” that could have left his client with diminished mental capacity, The (Washington) Observer-Reporter (http://bit.ly/UQ6brw) reported.

In hearing Thursday on his request for a neurological examination of his client, Gorman said Clemons was injured in a decade of playing football and in vehicle accidents and other incidents off the field.

Gorman said Clemons played the positions of running back and defensive back “leading to innumerable head collisions” during practices and games, which caused dizziness, temporary confusion or loss of consciousness, black eyes and headaches. Any brain injury could be a factor in his ability to form criminal intent, Gorman said.

Judge Katherine Emery granted Gorman’s request for a neurological evaluation as well as an evaluation by a specialist in treatment of young people for drug and alcohol abuse, since the defense motion also says Clemons used alcohol and marijuana since age 12 and several years later began using other drugs such as cocaine and Ecstasy.

Assistant District Attorney Jerome Moschetta did not object to the defense requests as long as the prosecution was not penalized for any delay in bringing the case to trial.

Prosecutors said they plan to seek the death penalty if Clemons is convicted of first-degree murder, citing robbery convictions and a juvenile aggravated assault conviction as aggravating circumstances for jurors to consider.

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Information from: Observer-Reporter, http://www.observer-reporter.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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