Collegian Staff Writer
The defense attorney for a Penn State student charged with felony riot is requesting the court obtain authorities’ computers because he believes police may have illegally deleted evidence.
Andrew Shubin, the attorney for former Collegian photographer Maxwell C. Kruger, filed a motion Thursday requesting that the court order Patton Township Officer Jeff McElrath and State College Police Department Detective Ken Ferron to turn over their computers so deleted e-mails about the defendant can be recovered, according to the motion.
Police say Kruger, 138 S. Atherton St., was pepper-sprayed after standing on the roof of a car while taking pictures during the Oct. 25 riot. Kruger is charged with felony riot, misdemeanor failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief, according to court documents. The estimated damage to the vehicle Kruger was standing on is valued at about $4,475, police said.
Kruger was no longer a Collegian photographer at the time of the incident.
Police filed charges after Kruger approached the State College Police Department Oct. 27 to file a complaint against officers for using excessive force, Shubin wrote in the motion.
In Thursday’s motion, Shubin requests “dismissing the case if it is determined that the e-mails were, in bad faith, purposefully or recklessly deleted and deprive the defendant of a fair trial,” according to the motion.
Shubin, who did not return calls for comment as of press time Thursday, maintains police deleted e-mails pertaining to Kruger’s case and did not create a report of Kruger’s actions until after he contacted police.
“Detective Ferron had no firsthand information about what occurred on Beaver Avenue during the disturbance,” Shubin wrote.
Both Ferron and McElrath have said these e-mails have been deleted, Shubin said in the motion.
Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira did not return calls seeking comment as of press time Thursday.
The defense attorney has also requested that any evidence that “refers to alleged content of any deleted” e-mails be prohibited from being used to prosecute Kruger, according to court documents.
Additionally, McElrath did not prepare a “contemporaneous report of Kruger’s alleged criminal activity” and failed to initially document use of force during the riot, Shubin wrote.