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Man’s trial in the death of his father moved back to May

LISBON — David Shafer, the Leetonia man accused of murdering his own father, Delbert G. Shafer Jr. in early 2018, on Monday had his jury trial postponed until May.

Shafer, 50, state Route 558, Leetonia, had been scheduled for a jury trial next week in Common Pleas Court, but one of his defense attorneys, Paul Conn, filed a motion asking for additional time to prepare for the case.

Conn said it took time to find the expert witness, a forensic pathologist, to go over the evidence on Shafer’s behalf. Conn pointed out it was difficult to find someone who could both do the job in a timely manner and someone willing to do it within the budget allowed.

Conn said he also filed notification of the court they have now found Dr. William Cox, who is willing to do the work at a cost of $350 per hour and it will require a minimum of 10 hours to complete the work.

Additionally, Conn said he and co-counsel Colleen Hall-Dailey are working their way through a great deal of discovery. He noted Shafer may tell Judge Megan Bickerton he is not happy they have not been out to see him at the jail as much as he would like.

“I know both of them are very busy,” Shafer said when Bickerton gave him a chance to talk about his concerns. “They are public defenders. They don’t have all the time in the world.”

Shafer indicated things are good for now. His trial was rescheduled for May 19 with a final status hearing scheduled for May 4. He remains in the county jail.

He is charged with murder, having weapons while under disability and tampering with evidence.

Shafer is accused of assaulting his father on Jan. 14, 2018, injuries believed to have caused the death of the elder Shafer. Deputies were informed about Delbert Shafer’s death after the body was transported to a local funeral home and it was determined he may have died of suspicious causes. The death was later determined to be a homicide.

Additionally, with a previous conviction for burglary in Berks County, Pa., David Shafer is not permitted to have firearms, yet he reportedly had several guns belonging to his father, which he attempted to hide from deputies while they were investigating Delbert Shafer’s death. On Jan. 23, 2018 a large cache of firearms were found in a hidden storage area when deputies searched the home thoroughly with a search warrant and after David Shafer had told deputies his father had disposed of all his weapons prior to his death.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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