WARMINSTER, Pa. (CBS) – Nearly four decades after he allegedly fired a bullet into another man’s back during a fight in Bucks County, a Philadelphia man is under arrest and charged with criminal homicide.
Authorities in Bucks County reopened their investigation into the 1973 shooting in Warminster of Joseph Kwiatkowski, who was 18 at the time, after Kwiatkowski died in Florida in 2009, in his mid-50s.
The shooting had left Kwiatkowski a paraplegic. Now, a grand jury has recommended homicide charges against 58-year-old Domingo Negron.
Bucks County prosecutor David Zellis says a key witness will be medical examiner Dr. Ian Hood.
“He was very clear and concise in his testimony that there was no intervening causes based on his review of all the medical records, and that the gunshot wound was a direct cause of the death,” notes Zellis.
According to testimony before the grand jury, Kwiatkowski was shot during a brawl between groups of whites and Hispanics. Two other men, including his brother, were also shot.
“It’s my contention that my client was not a shooter that day,” said Craig Penglase, Negron’s attorney.
He says Negron already served a year in prison for assault with intent to kill, today’s equivalent of attempted murder, so he’s being charged with the same crime.
“This is akin to double jeopardy – this is at least moral double jeopardy,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re proceeding with a case that was already decided.”
“Legally it’s not double jeopardy,” said Zellis. “This crime did not occur until Joseph Kwiatkowski passed away in 2009.”
Negron was arraigned on the charge of homicide Wednesday afternoon and held on $2 million bail.
Zellis says Negron served time in jail in connection with the shooting.
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Reported by Brad Segall, KYW Newsradio; Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3