Murder suspect seeks separate trial

LISBON — The Wellsville-area woman charged with murder wants a separate trial from her co-defendant boyfriend.

The defense attorney for Alicia A. Rogenski filed a motion in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court asking that her case be split from Terry A. Brown, who is also charged in the March 8 shooting death of Scottie Johnson at the couple’s home north of Wellsville on Hillcrest Road. Johnson was reportedly living there at the time, too.

Investigators say Brown, 47, admitted shooting Johnson in the head with a shotgun while he was sitting in his living room. The indictment alleges Brown and Rogenski murdered Johnson while attempting to rob him.

When Johnson did not respond to his girlfriend’s calls, she alerted the county sheriff’s office and deputies searching the property found his body outside the home in a trash pile.

Both Brown and Rogenski, 38, have been charged under the same indictment with aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery, complicity to commit aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. Public defender Kelly Linger, in her motion, said the cases need to be separated because Rogenski and Brown “have directly adverse interests” and requiring Rogenski’s fate to be tied directly with Brown “will prejudice the jury against her based on the defense of, and evidence against” Brown.

At a status hearing on Friday, Judge C. Ashley Pike decided to delay taking any action on the motion to separate until Brown and his attorney could be present to respond since the decision would impact him as well. Chief Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble said, and Pike agreed, Brown had a right to be heard first before making any decision.

Their case is scheduled for trial June 6, and Linger said she intends to file a motion for a continuance, which Pike indicated he will grant because they have yet to even decide whether the cases should be tried together.