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Testimony Begins in Homicide Trial of Neil Pal

The second suspect that police say was involved in the homicide of Frank Bonacci last summer is now on trial in Lackawanna County.
Testimony is now underway in the homicide trial of Neil Pal in Lackawanna County.

Pal is charged as an accomplice to first-and-third degree murder and conspiracy in connection with the shooting death of Frank Bonacci last summer.

Tuesday was a busy day in the Lackawanna County courthouse.

Jurors heard opening statments in the morning and several witnesses took the stand in the afternoon.

Neil Pal's attorney says this case will all come down to his client's "state of mind" the morning that Frank Bonacci was shot and killed.

Attorney Matt Comerford says Neil Pal had no idea a murder was about to take place.

MaryBeth Castaldi was one of the witnesses to testify Tuesday afternoon.

She says Neil Pal was her best friend and testified that the morning Frank Bonacci was shot-and-killed, Pal called her to pick him and his friend Jason Dominick up along Interstate 81.

Prosecutors believe Neil Pal and Jason Dominick had just shot-and-killed Bonacci near "Step Falls" behind the University of Scranton and had sent his Jeep over a ravine.

In his opening statement, prosecutor Gene Talerico told jurors that Neil Pal's conduct will show them "who he is, a conspirator and an accomplice" who is responsible for Bonacci's death.

Neil Pal's attorneys admit their client was there when Bonacci died but say Jason Dominick was the triggerman and they claim Pal had no idea the murder was about to take place.

Attorney Matt Comerford said Neil Pal drove Bonacci's Jeep to "Step Falls" after an all-night drinking party because he "knew there was going to be a fight" between Dominick and Bonacci.

Comerford says the testimony of Brandon Emily, who took the stand Tuesday, will be critical in this case.

Brandon Emily testified that right before all three men left in Bonacci's Jeep, Neil Pal offered to give Brandon Emily a ride home too.

Pal's attorney asked jurors to use their common sense, asking if that sounded like someone who knew that a murder was going to happen just five minutes later.

In opening statements, Neil Pal's attorneys also tried to portray Jason Dominick, who was convicted last month of third degree murder and conspiracy, as manipulative, controlling and violent.

Neil Pal's attorneys have hinted that jurors will hear from Neil Pal himself but they did not directly say whether or not he will definitely take the stand.

Testimony resumes Wednesday morning in Lackawanna County.













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