SCRANTON -- As word spread in downtown Scranton Tuesday that the defense had taken over in Jason Dominick's trial on first degree murder charges, the courtroom on North Washington Avenue started to fill up. A crowd of about 100 people watched the defendant testify.
Tuesday afternoon the first of two co-defendants charged with the killing of 24-year-old Frank Bonacci of Dunmore took the stand. Jason Dominick told his story about what he says happened when Bonacci was murdered last July in Scranton.
Dominick started off his testimony teary, talking about how he and Frank Bonacci had fought in the past but had put their trouble behind them.
Prosecutors allege that Dominick shot Bonacci and his co-defendant Neil Pal was an accomplice.
But, Dominick testified that it was Pal who arranged for the three of them to ride together in Bonacci's SUV after a party on July 20th.
On the stand, Dominick started shaking when he said that Pal drove he and Bonacci to a secluded area of Scranton near Roaring Brook.
Dominick didn't know Pal was going to shoot Bonacci. He said the shot came while Pal was still driving he said, "I heard a big bang and there was a flash. I smelled sulfur and glass popped out."
Dominick said Pal fired again, the second shot hit Frank Bonacci at the base of his neck killing him instantly.
Dominick testified that Neil Pal pointed the gun at him and ordered him to put a rock on the gas pedal of Bonacci's SUV, but he refused. Then Pal sent the SUV with Bonacci's body inside over a cliff.
Dominick started shaking even more as he explained why he helped cover up the murder. Dominick told jurors Neil Pal threatened to kill his sisters and his ex-girlfriend Keri Tucker if he told anyone what happened.
Dominick's testimony was the first time the public, or prosecutors from the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office, has heard his side of the story. Prosecutors will have the opportunity to ask Dominick questions during cross-examination Wednesday morning.