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Forensics take center stage in Barto murder trial

October 22, 2019 News Extra

Ishemer Ramsey

Blood-stained leaves, maggots, tire tracks and all things forensic were discussed and on display on the second day of a Lyndora man's murder trial.

Ishemer Ramsey, 23, is accused of killing his girlfriend Melissa Barto, 26, on June 8, 2017.

Her body was discovered four days later on a Lawrence County farm. While DNA and other things were discussed Tuesday in the nonjury trial before Common Pleas Judge William Shaffer, Ramsey's lawyer, Christopher Capozzi continued to build on his claim from Monday that the the proceeding is a mistrial.

State Police Trooper Brian Kershaw picked up from Monday and continued to testify Tuesday into his investigation that led him and prosecutors to charge Ramsey with Barto's death.

But Capozzi also picked up Monday's thread, asking Kershaw if he knew that he wasn't suppose to mention at a trial his defendant's right to counsel and remain silent.

“At the time of testimony, I didn't know that wasn't suppose to be mentioned,” Kershaw told Capozzi. “I've never encountered that scenario before.”

Capozzi asked him if Assitant District Attorney Terri Schultz, prosecuting the case, or any of the other prosecutors working on the case had told him not to mention that during the trial. Kershaw said none of them had mentioned it.

Shaffer said he understood that Capozzi was trying to lay the groundwork for prosecutorial misconduct, which would open the door for a mistrial. With that, the trial continued.

After Kershaw stepped down, Schultz called to the stand Joseph R. Busin, the owner of the Lawrence County property where Barto's body was found half-burned.

Driving by that spot in the morning, Busin noticed a big garbage bag .

“I didn't think anything of it. We have a garbage problem,” Busin said

This is a preview of an article that appears in Wednesday's Butler Eagle. Subscribe online or in print to read the full article.