New Castle News


September 13, 2012

Brother charged with witness intimidation

NEW CASTLE — A West Side man was charged with intimidating a witness who had testified against his brother.

Damian Durane Dukes, 34, of 900 C Sankey St. is charged with witness intimidation. He is being held on $50,000 bond at the Lawrence County jail and being held on a state parole detainer.

New Castle police were called to the courthouse about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and told the victim of a shooting, who had testified against Justin Johnson, had been approached by Dukes — Johnson’s brother.

Police were told Dukes extended his hand to the witness, seated outside the courtroom, and said “remember what we talked about.”

Johnson is on trial, charged with attempted homicide in a Aug. 10, 2011, shooting.

At that point, victim advocate Kathleen Fee-Baird intervened, stepping between the two men. She ended their conversation and told Dukes to leave the area.

Fee-Baird escorted the witness to the office of District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa, informing him what had taken place.

Dukes was taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies after the trial resumed Tuesday after the lunch break.

The witness said he had been approached by Dukes in late July, with Dukes saying, “You’re the one my brother shot. We’ve been looking for you, but we didn’t wanna go to your house.”

The witness also said Dukes told him his girlfriend “should not go up there,” adding, “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t go too.”

The witness said he understood Dukes to imply they should not testify against Johnson.

The witness said Dukes spoke to him on two more occasions, making similar remarks concerning his anticipated testimony, most recently on Sunday, the day before the trial began.

At that time, the witness said, Dukes became angry and said there would be “repercussions.”

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