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—   Jakeem Towles testified in court this afternoon. Full details are coming tomorrow.


 LANCASTER – Jakeem Towles, through his attorney Teri B. Himebaugh, is in Lancaster Courtroom #3 before Judge Howard Knisely today seeking relief from the death sentence he received after being found guilty of shooting and killing Cornell “Young E-Z” Stewart in Columbia on May 7, 2010.

Jakeem Towles

      Towles is arguing that he should have taken the stand in his own defense during his trial and the testimony of Dr. Gerald Cooke, a forensic psychologist from Plymouth Meeting, PA who interviewed Towles, should have been presented during his trial. Dr. Cooke testified this morning.
Five witnesses took the stand this morning and testimony will continue after the lunch break with Towles’ defense attorney during his June 2012 trial, Samuel Encarnacion, on the stand. Encarnacion handled the guilt portion of his trial while Patricia Kay Spotts handled the penalty phase of his trial – the decision of death or life in jail following the jury’s verdict on guilt. She testified this morning.
There were two videos taken the night of the murder, one by Robert Sanders who testified this morning and the second by Jerry Puryear, who requested an attorney because he has criminal charges pending against him and he did not testify.
The jury came back with a verdict of death for Towles on June 11, 2012


  1. huh? says:

    Point of order question. When someone appeals such as this case, how is the presiding judge chosen? Crapshoot?

    • Becky says:

      I don’t know the protocol in all situations. Judge Knisely heard this case when it was originally tried in June of 2012 and he is presiding over this hearing and making the final determination in this appeal.

      I don’t expect much from Knisely for several reasons. Stewart’s attorney says it goes to the Supreme Court if Knisely rules against them (which in my opinion seems likely based on some of his reactions during the hearing). There have been a lot of allegations over Stewart’s first trial including white-out used on the jury’s verdict slip!

  2. Anonymous says:

    He couldn’t be in front of a worse judge. Knisely, who built his fortune as a defense attorney before going on the public payroll, justifiably known as “The Hammer” due to his harsh handlindling of defendants.

  3. regular reader says:

    agreed, what? Becky, you are upset with all the unsolved murders and they actually got this guy. You can’t have it both ways.

  4. what? says:

    This isnt a case of theft where it was 1 dollar into the felony charge amount. This is cold murder that was witnessed by multiple people.
    What did you expect, “oops i shot and killed someone, please dont throw the book at me!”

    I am not saying you are wrong in other circumstances but in this situation you are.

  5. huh? says:

    Good luck on that one (sarcasm intended). In Lancaster you are either danced away from any retribution or you are hit over the head with every book they can throw at you.