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Jury selection to begin in Shaw trial

Jury selection in the case of a Tyrone man accused of murdering a 6-year-old boy was to begin today in Hollidaysburg. This marks the beginning of the trial for Nathan Shaw who was charged last January with the brutal knife slaying of young Jared Klein and the assault of Jared’s mother.
Last March, during his formal arraignment, Shaw pleaded not guilty before Blair County Judge Daniel Milliron to charges of criminal homicide, rape, aggravated assault and other serious felony offenses connected to the 2005 night-after-Christmas death of young Klein and the assault and rape of his mother.
“We will seek the death penalty in this case,” said Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio following Shaw’s formal arraignment.
“We feel very confident about the evidence and, at this time, we don’t really see any complications.”
Shaw is accused of brutally beating Jared’s mother, binding her and raping her, then beating and murdering Jared with a knife Dec. 26, 2005. Tyrone Borough Police responded to a “weapons call” about 10 p.m. that night, only to find young Jared lying dead with a knife protruding from the left side of his neck, in the living room of his family’s two-story Tyrone apartment, and his mother next door, badly injured. Shaw was immediately pursued to answer questions about the incident, which lead law enforcement officers on a cross-country manhunt, ending in Oklahoma.
Shaw was tracked down, driving the mother’s stolen Nissan Sentra, by Kay County, Okla., authorities. A seven-mile high-speed chase, reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph, ended in a fiery crash and Shaw’s arrest. He was later extradited to Blair County to face the charges levied against him.
“The prosecution has given notice of three aggravating circumstances which have compelled them to seek the death penalty in the case,” said lead defense attorney, Blair County public defender Theodore Krol.
Consiglio, who was the last attorney to successfully prosecute a death penalty case in Blair County, explained the reasoning behind deciding to seek an execution for Shaw.
“In Pennsylvania, in order to ask for the death penalty in a first degree murder case, there must be at least one of a list of 18 aggravating circumstances, which we must prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” Consiglio said. “In this case, there are three: The first being the fact that the victim is a child under the age of 12.
“The second is the evidence of torture during the attack on the child,” the DA continued. “There is evidence that will prove the victim was beaten, strangled and then stabbed. The pathologist who performed the autopsy has testified that the stab wound to the victim’s neck, while causing death, did not cause instant death.”
At Shaw’s preliminary hearing, Dr. Gordon Handte of J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, the pathologist who performed Klein’s autopsy, said Klein died by bleeding from a severed jugular vein. The pathologist said the knife blade was buried “four inches deep” in Klein’s neck, with the tip embedded in the spinal column, nearly coming out the other side. Handte said it would’ve taken a “significant amount of force” to sink the knife that deep into the tissue of Klein’s neck.
Also, according to the autopsy report, Klein suffered “multiple additional injuries,” including bruises to the face and neck, broken blood vessels in the face, abrasions to his right ear and a swollen brain. The expert witness said all of Klein’s injuries were caused before death and likely caused the victim “significant pain,” which constitutes the aggravating circumstance of torture.
The third point, according to the district attorney, is that the murder happened during the commission of another felony offense (the rape of the mother, aggravated assault on both the mother and the child and the theft of her vehicle).
It’s up to the defense to introduce “mitigating circumstances” in an attempt to outweigh those aggravated circumstances presented by the prosecution. Defense attorneys need only prove those points by a preponderance of the evidence. It’s uncertain as to whether the defense will present mitigating circumstances.
Ultimately, it’s up to the jury to decide whether death by execution is warranted.