Judge orders new trial for man convicted of murder at American Legion

Carlisle/West Shore

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – A man who was serving a life sentence for a fatal shooting inside an American Legion post in 2016 has been granted a new trial.

Robert “Rocky” Anderson, 42, was convicted in February of first-degree murder in the killing of Daniel “DJ” Harris Jr. at the Haines Stackfield American Legion in Carlisle.

Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas Judge Edward Guido vacated the conviction and sentence and ordered a new trial on Friday.

According to the opinion, Anderson’s filed a post-sentence motion for relief alleging prosecutors violated the Brady Rule, which requires prosecutors to turn over all evidence to defendants in criminal cases.

At trial, prosecutors told the jury no deals were offered for the testimony of a key witness, Michael Evans, who was arrested and jailed for a firearms violation a month after the fatal shooting.

Evans testified before a grand jury investigating the homicide, and at trial, that he saw Anderson come into the Legion at or around the time the shots were fired.

In June, the district attorney’s office dropped all charges against Evans, stating that he had “provided substantial assistance and truthful testimony” at Anderson’s trial.

Evans’ attorney in the firearms case testified at an evidentiary hearing last month. He told the court there was an “implicit understanding” that it Evans testified at trial against Anderson, he would be given “favorable consideration.”

Guido wrote in his opinion that the Brady violation was not a harmless error because, without Evans’ testimony, the prosecution had no evidence that placed Anderson at the scene of the murder.

He added that the testimony was used to discredit many other witnesses, including some known to or familiar with Anderson, who could neither identify the shooter nor place him in the Legion.

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