Police beef up security at Monroe Co. courthouse before Rockne Newell hearing

Additional measures in place for preliminary hearing Thurs.

Author: , Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published: Nov 13 2013 06:00:02 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 14 2013 08:08:42 AM EST
STROUDSBURG, Pa. -

A preliminary hearing will be held Thursday in Monroe County for a man charged with opening fire inside a municipal meeting, killing three people.

The tragedy in Ross Township made national headlines.

Now local officials are closing streets and beefing up security ahead of Rockne Newell's planned court appearance.

When Rockne Newell walks into the Monroe County Courthouse on Thursday morning, there will be no shortage of security.

"We anticipate a lot of traffic between law enforcement and witnesses going in. So we want to be prepared for that influx of people," said Captain Brian Kimmins of the Stroud Area Regional Police.

Newell is charged with firing shots into the Ross Township Municipal building during a township meeting August 5 and killing three people. 

Police say because the case received national attention, the extra security is needed.

"There's already been some high profile cases that had preliminary hearings in the courthouse, but no, we haven't closed streets in my memory," said Kimmins.

There will be no parking on Sixth Street between Monroe and Sarah streets.  Also no parking on Sarah Street between Sixth and Seventh streets.

However, motorists will be able to drive on those streets but no traffic will be allowed on Monroe Street between Sixth and Eighth streets.

Police are also closing Seventh Street and Mattioli Square by the courthouse.

"We think we are probably not going to get some regulars, but we are going to get other people," said Cafe Duet owner Maria Bickart.

Bickart says she was informed about the closures surrounding the hearing.

She says the cafe will remain open, because a lot of the regular customers work at the courthouse.

Other customers say they will find a way to get their daily cup of joe.

"I'm going to have to get creative and figure something out because I do come here everyday," said East Stroudsburg resident Frank Colletta.