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May 7, 2013

Shenango Officer’s Death: Attorney pondering defense for suspect

NEW CASTLE — Extradition from Ohio is the next step for the woman accused of killing a Shenango Township policeman.

Pittsburgh attorney James Ecker said he expected his client, Kylee Gwen Barletto, 25, of 693 Hoover Road, to be discharged from St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown Monday night or Tuesday. She is to be arraigned before District Judge Jerry Cartwright.

Barletto faces 15 charges, including manslaughter of a law enforcement officer in the second degree, homicide by vehicle, accident involving death and injury, fleeing and eluding officers, and two counts of aggravated assault.

Police said she was driving the car that hit a Shenango Township police cruiser about 10 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of South Cascade Street and Warren Avenue.

Officer William J. “Jerry” McCarthy IV was killed in the crash. The driver Michael Lynch — like McCarthy, a part-time Shenango officer — sustained a broken hip and broken ankle.

Police said Barletto’s driver’s license was under suspension and she was being pursued by New Castle officers at the time of the crash.

Ecker, who visited Barletto at the hospital Sunday, said his client sustained multiple injuries and “is in a lot of pain.”

He said she underwent an MRI Sunday to determine the extent of her head injuries, adding she has a broken nose and several broken ribs.

“She’s not in the greatest shape physically or mentally.

“We all feel terrible about what happened to officers McCarthy and Lynch,” Ecker said. “Our prayers go out to their families.”

He added a Pennsylvania state police officer was posted outside Barletto’s hospital room.

Ecker, who has been retained by Barletto’s family, declined to say how he anticipates the case would proceed.

“You play the cards that you are dealt.”

The first step, he said, will be to face extradition from Ohio to Pennsylvania for arraignment. After that, he said, he will concentrate on a bond hearing and Barletto’s preliminary hearing.

“Everything is a separate item,” Ecker said, adding, “Nothing is an open-and-shut case.

“In each case, you look at the facts. At the present time, neither I nor anyone else has all of the facts of this case, and no one knows what a judge or jury will do with any case once all of the facts are presented.”

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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