Co-defendants Erin Rhynes and Timitheus Merritt's attempted murder trial in the shooting of Michael Cosentino is on the docket, after a final hearing was concluded. Rhynes made a final request to represent himself and requested that the media be barred from the trial.
CANANDAIGUA — Eight lawyers later, the final scheduled pre-trial court appearance is concluded and the attempted murder case in the shooting of Michael Cosentino will start on Mar 11.
As the evidentiary hearing wrapped up, Erin "E" Rhynes made one last plea to Judge Craig Doran, who has patiently dealt with the disruptive defendant.
"I’m still waiting to see discovery evidence,” said Rhynes, who complained that he has not met with his attorney since Dec 11. “I also request the media be precluded from the trial.”
The floor plan of the Ontario County courtroom will be set with Rhynes and his attorney David Morabito at one table, and co-defendant Timetheus Merritt and his attorney Robert Zimmerman at the next table. Ontario County First Assistant District Attorney Jason MacBride will be prosecuting the trial, which will be presided over by Judge Doran.
On Wednesday in court, counsel argued on the admissibility of the criminal history and the nature of the defendants' relationship to the victim.
Police allege that Rhynes and Merritt were dealing cocaine and the victim owed the duo drug money. When Cosentino couldn’t pay his debt, they allege that Rhynes put three bullets in his head and that his clothes and a weapon were found in Merritt’s apartment.
According to police, medical doctors weren't sure if Cosentino would survive the shooting and he confided to an investigator prior to surgery that a man named "E" shot him. Doran ruled that portions of each defendant’s criminal history will be admissible should either testify in their own defense during the trial.
Doran reserved ruling on barring the media as well as Rhynes's request to represent himself "pro se" at one point.