WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A judge has denied motions to remove the death penalty option and move Nasser Hamad’s trial out of the county.
In all, the judge ruled on nine motions in the Howland capital murder case.
Hamad is accused of killing two people and hurting three others at his Howland home in February. His lawyers filed several motions, asking for a change of venue due to publicity and to get rid of the death penalty option should Hamad be convicted.
In his judgment entry, Judge Ronald Rice said a change of venue request is premature at this stage in the proceedings, saying the request would be more appropriate in the voir dire process. Judge Rice also ruled that a request to preclude a sentence of a death specification due to a perceived error in the indictment was not valid.
Included in his rulings is that the Grand Jury proceedings will not be sealed.
Hamad’s lawyers maintain that Hamad was defending himself and that the victims had been harassing him before the shooting on his property.
Prosecutors said, however, that he provoked the victims on social media to come over to his house. They said after the fight, the victims started to leave and he went into his house to get the gun.
Hamad’s trial is set for October.