SCRANTON — Two jurors were dismissed Wednesday from a murder trial in Lackawanna County after they were caught posting about the case on social media.
It’s the second day of testimony in Neil Pal’s trial on murder charges.
Court started with Judge Terrance Nealon dismissing two jurors. Juror number 7 and one of the alternates were dismissed, the judge said, because they were communicating on Facebook about the trial. That’s against court rules.
Two jurors learned that some things really shouldn’t be shared on Facebook. The judge’s staff checks jurors’ social media pages throughout a lengthy trial like this one. They found that two jurors deciding if a man is guilty of murder posted about the trial on Facebook.
Those jurors were dismissed and the empty spot on the 12-person panel was filled with another alternate.
Prosecutors from the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office continued calling friends of Neil Pal to the stand, the people who were the last to see Neil Pal, and his now-convicted co-defendant Jason Dominick with the victim Frank Bonacci.
Prosecutors say Dominick and Pal worked together to murder Bonacci after an all-night party at Pal’s house in Scranton’s hill section last July.
Witnesses who were at the party said they didn’t see any red flags and afterward Pal and Dominick acted like everything was fine.
Meanwhile, Bonacci’s body was in his SUV at the bottom of a ravine in Scranton, waiting to be found seven days later.
Both pal and Dominick admit they were there. Pal says he was just an innocent bystander.
During cross examination Pal’s defense attorney tried to prove Pal had no motive to kill Bonacci, but Dominick did and Bonacci’s murder followed a pattern.
When Chris Genovese of Moscow was on the stand, the defense asked him about a fight he had with Dominick months before the murder. Genovese testified that Dominick took the first shot, when his back was turned.
Attorney Paul Walker then asked, “when you had your back to him and you were defenseless, he hit you in the back of the head? He’s a tough guy but he’s a coward, right?”
Because the four original alternate jurors sat in on all the testimony so far, there was no interruption in the trial when the two jurors were dismissed.
Jurors were not sequestered during Jason Dominick’s trial last month, or now for Neil Pal’s.
Judge Nealon say sequestration is an extreme he hopes he won’t have to exercise.