Ross Township, Monroe County – The man accused of going on a shooting rampage at a township meeting in August pleaded not guilty Monday morning.
Police say Rockne Newell murdered three people and injured several others during a public meeting in Ross Township, Monroe County.
Newell appeared in Monroe County court via video conference from the Monroe County Correctional Facility. He told the judge he needed medical attention, eyeglasses, and a hearing aid. Asked about it later, his defense attorneys said Newell is getting proper medical attention in prison.
Newell has told multiple news outlets that he went to that municipal meeting specifically to kill supervisors who he believes “stole” his property. Reporters asked Newell’s attorney Michael Weinstein why he pleaded not guilty to crimes he has openly admitted to committing. Weinstein responded, "Those are legal issues that we really have to spend a lot of time on."
Newell’s defense team hired sociologist Louise Luck. She is a “Mitigation Expert” to look into how Newell’s background may have influenced his actions. She said, "I do a multi generational family history an investigation into the total aspects of our client's lives."
Attorney Bill Ruzzo added, "Our past affects everything we do." When asked, "Does it excuse the things that we do?" He responded, "Sometimes it does."
Lawyers wouldn’t say if Newell might try to make a plea bargain later or if they will try to prove he is insane. “It’s way too early. It’s way too early,” repeated Weinstein.