Ruling allows trial of Anthony Dion Shaw to proceed

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WILKES-BARRE — For the second time, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a one-page order declined to hear an appeal of homicide suspect Anthony Dion Shaw, accused of fatally stabbing a woman inside her Wilkes-Barre Township residence more than five years ago.

The ruling by the state’s highest appellate court allows Shaw’s homicide trial, which has been delayed several times due to appeals, to proceed.

Luzerne County President Judge Michael T. Vough has scheduled a status conference on Shaw’s case for June 13.

Shaw, 43, of East Orange, N.J., was charged with an open count of criminal homicide alleging he stabbed Cindy Lou Ashton, 39, inside her residence on Nicholson Street, Wilkes-Barre Township.

Ashton’s body was found by a Wilkes-Barre Township police officer conducting a welfare check when she did not report for work on May 2, 2018.

Shaw through his attorney, David W. Lampman II, filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court in December 2022, challenging Vough’s decision to allow prosecutors to use alleged evidence found in Shaw’s apartment by East Orange, N.J., police without a search warrant.

The alleged evidence, a handwritten letter in a notebook, three knives and store receipts, has resulted in a series of appeals in state appellate courts since 2019.

Initially, Vough in August 2019, banned prosecutors from using the alleged evidence due to the discovery without a search warrant. An East Orange police officer entered Shaw’s apartment during a welfare check and found him with self-inflicted slash wounds on May 4, 2018.

Prosecutors appealed Vough’s ruling to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which ordered Vough to hold a suppression hearing.

After two suppression hearings were held, Vough reversed his initial ruling and declared prosecutors could use the alleged evidence as the evidence would had been found during the course of the investigation, known as the inevitable discovery doctrine.

County Chief Det. Michael Dessoye previously testified he called East Orange police to inquire about Shaw on May 5, 2018, a day after the alleged evidence was found in his apartment.

In addition, county Det. James P. Noone had testified Shaw was a “person of interest” the same day Ashton’s body was found.

Ashton’s relatives who lived in the same building claim they last saw Ashton with Shaw hours before her body was found.

Following Vough’s ruling in August 2022, allowing prosecutors to use the alleged evidence, Lampman filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court, which recently denied to hear the appeal.

The state Supreme Court denied a similar appeal related to the alleged evidence in April 2021.