Epping man challenges search in shooting investigation
BRENTWOOD - An Epping man charged with shooting a man with a shotgun while fighting about a woman in December 2011 is asking a judge to bar jurors from hearing about text messages and other data that police collected from his cell phone.
Tyler Locascio, 25, of Epping is headed to trial next month on a charge of second-degree assault for allegedly shooting Shawn Eaton, of Epping, with a round of bird shot on the night of Dec. 11, 2011.
Defense lawyer Andrew Cotrupi argued on Monday that police had no right to search through all of his client's text messages and e-mails to obtain evidence in their investigation.
He argued that Epping police had permission to search for a limited amount of information on the phone and likely applied for a second search warrant based on what they learned after looking through text messages and e-mails that they had no right to search.
Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard said the two search warrants were based solely on information known to police early on in the case.
The confrontation was set off because the two men were dating the same woman, according to Blanchard.
"She was dating the victim and the defendant at the same time and was the impetus as to why the whole thing was happening," Blanchard said.
Epping police had already known there was phone contact between the three people prior to obtaining the warrants Feb. 14 and March 5, prosecutors said.
"An hour before and about an hour after (the shooting) the phones are going crazy between all these people," Blanchard said.
Eaton suffered wounds to his arms, chest and back of his head from the shotgun blast, according to police.
The shooting happened about 8:15 p.m. just outside of the home of Eaton's uncle, according to a police affidavit.
Eaton told investigators that he and Locascio "had been texting and calling each other earlier in the day, and up to the shooting," the affidavit says.
"Eaton said some of Locascio's texts mentioned a shotgun and owning an excavator 'for a reason,'" Epping Police Officer Sean Gallagher said in an affidavit.
Judge N. William Delker quizzed the prosecution and defense about their legal arguments before taking the matter under advisement.