ERIE, Pa. – A man accused of shooting his wife and throw her in Lake Erie, and then to report she had accidentally fell overboard from a commercial fishing boat is seeking the dismissal of the criminal charges against him.
Christopher LeClair argues that the Erie County charges should be dismissed because it is unclear whether the murder happened in Pennsylvania, the Erie Times-News reported .
Attorney Bruce Sandmeyer said in a court filing Thursday that the body of the victim washed up on the shore of Lake Erie in the state of New York, “the commonwealth has not established that a violation has occurred in Pennsylvania.”
Sandmeyer also argues that, if the case should be moved from the county because of heavy media coverage, which “prevents the defendant of the possibility of ensuring a fair and impartial jury of Erie County and northwest Pennsylvania.”
Erie County President Judge John Trucilla ordered prosecutors to respond within 10 days, after which a hearing is likely.
Prosecutors say Leclair reported his wife, Karen Leclair, missing on 11 June, but dock surveillance footage showed the two leaving and him only. Authorities say her body was found in July with an anchor attached, and an autopsy concluded she had been shot in the head.
A state police detective testified during a preliminary hearing that the U.S. Border Patrol radar determined that Leclair the boat never traveled more than 4 miles (6.4 km) of the Lake Erie shoreline from Presque Isle June 10 and 11.
Leclair is charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, abuse of a corpse, evidence tampering and false reports. Prosecutors say they will seek a first degree murder conviction.
Information from: Erie Times-News http://www.goerie.com