NORRISTOWN - A Schuylkill man accused of shooting his neighbor in the abdomen at a Home Depot store challenged in court papers Tuesday the legality of several pieces of prosecutorial evidence.
Philip Costantini, through his lawyer, Timothy Woodward, asked a judge to prevent prosecutors from using Costantini's statements to police as evidence at his trial. Woodward argued any statements Costantini gave to investigators were not legally obtained.
"The statement was not legally voluntary. The statement was the product of physical and or psychological coercion," Woodward wrote in the document filed in Montgomery County Court.
Woodward also challenged the legality of a search of Costantini's 1999 Chevrolet pickup truck. Woodward argued the seizure of items from the truck was illegal because police lacked sufficient probable cause to support the search.
Woodward did not specifically list the items that were seized, and court documents pertaining to the search warrant were unavailable.
Finally, Woodward maintained that Costantini might have been subjected to a physical lineup for witnesses to the shooting and that such identification procedures were illegal because they were not conducted in the presence of Costantini's lawyer. Woodward added the identification procedures also were "unnecessarily suggestive."
A judge will hold a hearing on Woodward's requests before Costantini's trial later this year. Assistant District Attorney Zachary Cooper will respond to those requests at that time.
Costantini, 76, of the 1600 block of Knob Lane, in the Valley Forge section of Schuylkill Township, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering others and possessing an instrument of crime in connection with the February incident.
The charges stem from a Feb. 5 shooting at the Home Depot on West DeKalb Pike in King of Prussia, during which Douglas Lawson, Costantini's 42-year-old neighbor, was injured.
Costantini and Lawson had been embroiled in a dispute since March 2003 about an addition that Lawson wanted to build to his home. The pair crossed paths at 10 a.m. at the Home Depot, and a verbal confrontation ensued. The altercation escalated, with Costantini brandishing a semiautomatic handgun from the waistband of his pants and shooting Lawson, detectives said.
Lawson suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen.
Responding to a 911 call, police found Costantini in the carpet section of the store and took him into custody. Costantini confessed to police at the time, court documents indicate.
Costantini remains in jail in lieu of $1 million cash bail while awaiting trial.