Trial of man accused of setting woman on fire likely delayed

Prosecutors read defense documents they weren't meant to see

October 28, 2011|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

A Howard County judge ordered new county prosecutors to take over the murder case against a homeless man accused of fatally burning his girlfriend, ruling Friday that the current prosecutors' knowledge of confidential defense information would put Richard Rodola at a disadvantage in his upcoming trial.

Judge Diane Leasure is expected to postpone the trial, now scheduled for early November, to allow other prosecutors in the Howard County State's Attorney's Office who don't know about the defense strategy to get up to speed on the case.

Rodola, 49, is charged with dousing Pamela Myers, 37, with gasoline and setting her ablaze a year ago in the homeless camp where they lived. Rodola's lawyer, George Psoras Jr., said he asked his client to prepare information for him, but that paperwork was confiscated when Rodola's jail cell was searched. The information was then given to prosecutors.

Psoras argued that even if the documents are not allowed to be used at trial, the current prosecutors knew information that was meant to be kept between the lawyer and his client. That, he maintained, put Rodola at a disadvantage.

State's Attorney Dario Broccolino later said that his office has other prosecutors who can handle the case.

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