ERIE, Pa. (AP) — A man accused of shooting his wife and tossing her into Lake Erie and then reporting she’d accidentally fallen overboard is seeking dismissal of the criminal charges against him.
Christopher LeClair argues that the Erie County charges should be dismissed because it’s unclear whether the homicide occurred in Pennsylvania, the Erie Times-News reported .
Defense attorney Bruce Sandmeyer said in a court filing Thursday that the body of the victim washed up on the shores of Lake Erie in New York so “the commonwealth has not established that an offense has occurred in Pennsylvania.”
Sandmeyer also argues that if the case proceeds it should be moved out of the county because of heavy news coverage that “prevents the defendant from even the possibility of securing a fair and impartial jury from Erie County or 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 on June 11 that his wife, Karen Leclair, had gone missing after falling off his commercial fishing boat that day. But dock surveillance images from June 10 showed the two leaving on the boat together and him returning alone that same day.
Her body was found in July near Dunkirk, N.Y., about 45 miles up the shore from Erie. An anchor was attached to her body, and an autopsy concluded she had been shot in the head.
A state police investigator testified at a preliminary hearing that U.S. Border Patrol radar determined that Leclair’s boat never traveled more than 4 miles from the Lake Erie shoreline off Presque Isle on 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
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