WILKES-BARRE – After waiting nearly seven months for a trial after several delays, homicide suspect Jabbar Wallace will have his fate decided beginning today before a Luzerne County jury.
Wallace, 33, is charged with homicide in the December 2007 shooting death of Eric Cusaac at the former Glass Bar in Edwardsville. Police said Wallace, of Wyoming, shot and killed Cusaac, 32, in the bar’s men’s room.
Opening arguments will begin at 8:30 a.m. before county Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski, Jr.
A jury of 10 men and two women, as well as two male alternates, was selected Thursday to hear the case, which will be prosecuted by Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Michael Vough. Wallace is represented by attorneys William Ruzzo and Joseph Sklarosky, Jr.
Olszewski said he expects the trial to last three to four days, with the jury deliberating by Wednesday afternoon or early Thursday morning.
The case was originally scheduled to go to trial in September, but had been continued four times due to paperwork, DNA samples and other reasons not identified by attorneys.
Attorneys have made arrangements to call several material witnesses in the case, including Cameron “Biggs” Little, whose appearance in the case was secured in March with a $100,000 straight bail.
According to arrest papers, Dominique Petel told police she backed into Wallace’s car in Wilkes-Barre Township a few days before Thanksgiving 2007. The two exchanged information and went their separate ways.
A few weeks later on Dec. 15, Petel was with Cusaac at the Cabaret Lounge in Kingston. Petel told police Wallace approached her and asked her why she was looking at him. “Is it because you hit my car?” Wallace asked her, she said.
Police said Wallace told Petel the accident was an inconvenience because he had to drive a rental car. That’s when, police said, Cusaac said he wasn’t going to allow Wallace to speak to Petel “that way” and Wallace left the Cabaret. A few hours later, Petel and Cusaac went to the Glass Bar, police said.
Petel said she was dancing when she heard two shots and ducked behind a pool table. Kingston police driving near the establishment at the time saw people running out of the bar and discovered that a 911 call was made.
Police later found Cusaac lying on the floor in the men’s room with two gunshot wounds. The Brooklyn, N.Y., man died minutes later at General Hospital.
Salvadore Harris, who was talking to Wallace in the men’s room about the car accident, told investigators Cusaac walked into the men’s room and was shot twice by Wallace, police said.
Wallace told his family he was attacked in the men’s room by two men before he fired.