The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Tuesday rejected granting a new trial for convicted killer Junius Burno, who participated in the shooting deaths of two men in Allentown more than 11 years ago.
Burno argued that he deserves a new trial based on his lawyer’s alleged ineffective representation in failing to object to remarks made by the prosecutor during her closing argument to the jury during his murder trial in 2007.
The Supreme Court decision reverses a 2009 lower court order for a new trial and dismisses Burno’s claims of ineffective assistance from his lawyers.
Responding to a report of gunshots at 2628 S. 4th St. on April 13, 2003, Allentown police discovered two homicide victims inside the residence and signs that a struggle had taken place.
The victims were identified as Carlos Juarbe and Oscar Rosado.
The police investigation resulted in the arrests of Burno and Terrence Bethea.
Burno eventually confessed to police that they went to Juarbe’s residence to rob him of drugs and money. Investigators determined Burno shot both men.
On March 5, 2007, a jury found Burno guilty on two counts of first-degree murder. The next day, Burno was sentenced to death.
In closing the argument at that trial, a prosecutor referred to Burno’s other crimes and bad acts to refute Burno's assertion that he was a good family man and argued that Burno cowardly shot Juarbe while he was down on the ground.
On Sept. 30, 2009, an appeals court granted Burno’s request for a new trial.