Mother: Defendant accused of shooting Kuzak was at home
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Jaime Andrejco, the mother of one of two young men charged in the shooting of a Clairton police officer last year, told a jury Friday that her son couldn't have been involved because he was home that night with her, watching "Dancing With the Stars."
"I was home, and so was Marcus," Ms. Andrejco said. "We watched it all the time, and we liked Hines Ward."
Marcus Andrejco, 19, of Rankin is accused of participating in a home invasion on Miller Avenue in Clairton on April 4, 2011, with Emilio Rivera, 27, of McKees Rocks.
When Clairton police responded to the robbery, Officer James Kuzak, who was stationed at the back door, was shot as the suspects fled the home. He was paralyzed from the waist down.
Both Mr. Andrejco and Mr. Rivera have denied their involvement. A trial on dozens of charges, including attempted homicide, began before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski on July 24.
On Thursday, the prosecution rested its case. On Friday, Mr. Rivera called just one witness, a man identified by a police informant as having been in the room when Mr. Rivera allegedly admitted his involvement in the shooting.
That man, Calvin Liddell, denied not only hearing that information but also even being in the same room with the informant and Mr. Rivera at any time after 2010.
The trial will continue Monday.
According to Jaime Andrejco's testimony, her son was home for almost the entire evening on April 4, 2011.
"He was in the kitchen," she said. "He did go to the store twice and came right back."
Ms. Andrejco said there were nine people at her home that night, including four of her son's friends.
She also told the jury of 10 women and two men that there are seven video surveillance cameras set up in Hawkins Village -- the county housing development where she and her son lived at the time of the incident -- and that one of the cameras is aimed at her front door.
An investigator hired by Mr. Andrejco's defense attorney testified that he attempted to contact the housing authority police between eight and 10 times in an attempt to retrieve the surveillance footage to attempt to show Mr. Andrejco was home that night, but the police never returned his calls.
On cross-examination by Deputy District Attorney Daniel Fitzsimmons, he asked Ms. Andrejco why she never told police before that her son was home with her watching "Dancing With the Stars."
"I was only asked a few questions," she said.
"You told them there was something wrong with your TV, did you not?" he asked.
"No, I did not," Ms. Andrejco answered.
"You told them you didn't have an antenna that would allow you to watch TV, did you not?" Mr. Fitzsimmons continued.
"No, I did not," she responded.
Ms. Andrejco also failed to tell investigators that several people were at her home that night when she was first interviewed four days after the incident when her son was taken into custody.
On Friday, she testified that her son was on the computer much of the night of the shooting, and that he had sent messages from it throughout the evening and into the early morning.
Ms. Andrejco admitted on cross-examination by Mr. Fitzsimmons that she never told the police that information before either.
"I wasn't asked a lot of questions," she said.
First Published August 11, 2012 12:00 am