Detective: Neil Pal Took Part in Bonacci Murder Cover-Up

Published 06/09 2014 06:07PM

Updated 06/09 2014 06:46PM

A homicide trial in Lackawanna County is now in its second week.

Neil Pal is facing first-and-third degree murder charges in connection with the death of Frank Bonacci last summer.

A Scranton police detective and several people involved in the search for the missing Dunmore man took the witness stand on Monday.

Defense lawyers tried to show through text messages that Neil Pal and Frank Bonacci were friends, talking about things like video games, golf and girls.

Scranton police detective Michael Schultz, who analyzed text messages, phone calls and Facebook postings, pointed to something else.

He testified there really wasn't a friendship between Neil Pal and Frank Bonacci and said after the murder, Pal did everything he could to divert attention away from him.

Schultz testified that Neil Pal was good at helping to cover-up the murder of Frank Bonacci last summer.

After Bonacci went missing last July, Schultz told jurors that Pal changed his Facebook picture to an image of him with his arm around Bonacci, posting a message that he hoped Bonacci was okay.

Schultz believed it all to be an act.

Schultz told jurors, "he continued to put stuff on Facebook, seeming like he had no idea what happened to Frankie when he knew exactly what happened to Frankie."

Prosecutors believe Neil Pal gave Jason Dominick the gun used in the homicide and even drove both men to an area known as "Step Falls" behind the University of Scranton where the murder took place.

Detective Schultz told jurors, "He (Neil Pal) chose Jason Dominick over Frank Bonacci...he lured Frankie Bonacci away from safety."

A number of other witnesses who helped search for Bonacci also testified Monday.

One of them, David Edsell, said that at one point Neil Pal told him that Frank Bonacci was "ruining his **(expletive)** life" because everyone was blaming him for Bonacci's disappearance.

From the day that Bonacci was killed to right before their arrest, investigators say Neil Pal and Jason Dominick called each other a total of 67 times.

It's important to point out that the murder weapon has never been recovered and Pal's attorneys say their client had no idea that Jason Dominick planned to kill Frank Bonacci.

Testimony resumes in the trial Tuesday morning in Lackawanna County.

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