Lehigh Valley

DA ready to convene 2nd investigating grand jury

DA ready to convene 2nd investigating grand jury

EASTON, Pa. - As one grand jury goes off the clock, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli is calling for another one to tackle some of the county's toughest cases.

Morganelli made the announcement Wednesday on the heels of receiving the final report from the 2010 grand jury.

The members of that jury looked into 14 cases over 18 months, helping to find suspects in two homicide cases, Morganelli said.

The original focus was on old homicide cases, but Morganelli said new crimes were being committed and new information was discovered.

"We have detectives working on these cases, and we've identified a whole list of cases, and in addition, as we went through this process, new crimes were being committed." said Morganelli.

Some of the cases heard included the killing of Robert Sarko in the summer of 2000. Enough evidence was uncovered to arrest and charge Robert Schmidt, whose trial is expected to begin later this year.

Members of the grand jury also determined there was enough evidence to arrest and charge Lucinda Andrews for the murder of John Mayerchak. Police were still investigating the 1985 case, and they presented the grand jury with interviews and physical evidence.

Andrews later pleaded guilty to third degree murder and was sentenced to 10 to 20 years behind bars.

"We believe it was a very successful two-year period," said Morganelli. "The grand jury work was very important work and we believe this process should continue."

The number one case Morganelli cited for convening the 2010 grand jury was the Holly Branagan homicide from 1979. The case remains unsolved. Morganelli is hoping the new grand jury will be able to finish the case and identify who committed the crime.

This Week's Circulars

Lehigh Valley News

Latest From The Newsroom