The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has denied an appeal by the attorney defending Phillip Walters, the Mill City man accused of killing his live-in girlfriend 14 months ago and then disposing her body in the Susquehanna River.
Timothy Michaels filed a petition in January asking the appellate court to review an aspect of the case against Walters who is expected to go to trial March 16.
The appeal essentially took issue with a Nov. 8 decision by Wyoming County President Judge Russell Shurtleff not to limit evidence, a position Michaels had argued was necessary because he felt he was kept from reviewing that material and hence why a then set court date of Nov. 18 was a difficult burden in order to move forward.
The court date was subsequently changed twice to allow Michaels more time for preparation.
In an order handed down Dec. 12 to move the date of the Walters trial to March 16, President Judge Russell Shurtleff wrote, “No additional continuances shall be granted to either the Commonwealth or defense counsel with respect to this trial.”
In the appeal petition, Michaels and his assistant Jesse Hallinan claimed the Wyoming County District Attorney’s office has “intentionally and willfully obstructed” his access to evidence and witnesses, and by appealing the matter to the Pennsylvania Superior Court was trying to keep all of his options open.
District Attorney Jeff Mitchell had denied the charges at the hearing Nov. 8 when he noted his office had an open door policy to legal cases, and he continued to strongly argue that position in a response to Michaels’ appeal to the Superior Court last month.
Mitchell said Tuesday, “We never felt there was any basis for the appeal to begin with so I was not surprised.”
Michaels said he was disappointed, but not surprised.
He noted that the Superior Court’s denial of an interlocutory appeal may have nothing to do with the appeal’s merits, “but in cases like this the damage may already have been done.”
The statement issued by the court which was received by the Wyoming County Prothonotary’s office on Feb. 24 merely said “Denied” and provided no explanation.
Walters is accused of killing Haley M. Lorenzen, 24, of Oregon, and disposing of her body in late December of 2018 from the Susquehanna River Bridge in Falls.
Lorenzen’s body was
discovered 22 miles downstream at Plymouth