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Cops and Courts

Simko's trial in husband's killing to go on next month as scheduled

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    Accused killer Julene Simko appears in court for a hearing Monday on whether to delay her trial set for next month.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — Julene Simko will go on trial next month for allegedly killing her husband nearly eight years ago, despite the objections of her lawyers, who on Monday told Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski they needed more time to prepare for the case.

Betleski wrote in his decision that the trial would go forward as scheduled Sept. 12, noting that the trial date had been set more than a year ago. He also wrote that Simko’s lawyers’ desire for a forensic expert and to review the evidence in the case weren’t new issues.

Simko’s lead attorney, Jack Bradley, declined to comment on the decision. He has previously said his client denied having anything to do with Jeremy Simko’s death.

Earlier in the day, another of Simko’s lawyers, Michael Stepanik, had argued there had been issues obtaining evidence, including interviews and surveillance videos from the Vermilion home Julene Simko shared with her husband.

Julene Simko called 911 about 6 a.m. Nov. 18, 2009, and reported that her husband had been shot and was on the couple’s bed. She also reported that someone else had shot the 36-year-old Jeremy Simko and that someone was inside their house.

She also said that the doors were locked, but that officers could force their way inside.

Julene Simko told police that she fired a gun inside the house as a warning to the intruder, although police have said the physical evidence in the case didn’t support her version of events.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo said Monday that Julene Simko had moved her husband’s body off the bed before police arrived.

Stepanik said that the lighting around the house at the time of the killing would be an issue at trial. Stepanik said the lighting issue could show up in surveillance footage, but that there was a massive amount of footage to review before the trial begins.

“When I was in college and worked for an electrician, the rule was measure twice, cut once,” he said. “And we’re just at the stage where I think we need additional time to do an adequate and constitutional job for Ms. Simko.”

Cillo argued that prosecutors have spent months preparing and it appeared defense lawyers hadn’t gone through all of the evidence or prepared for trial.

“There comes a time when the family of the victim is also entitled to some closure on a case,” Cillo said. “I mean, you do have a right to a speedy trial, but it doesn’t say you have the right to the longest possible trial.”

Julene Simko remains free on bond. 

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.


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