Written by Nicole Foulke
Montgomery county prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against a Pottstown man and a Norristown man should they be convicted of first-degree murder for allegedly killing Victor Enrique Bonilla Baez by shooting him outside of Brian’s Café in Pottstown on March 22, according to The Times Herald.
The accused men, Michael Romain Hinton, 26 years old, from the 900 block of North Stainbridge Street in Norristown, and his cousin Maurice Laverne “Reece” Andrews Jr., 20 years old, who was last thought to reside in the first block of North Charlotte Street in Pottstown, pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all charges today at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, where they were prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Nathan Schadler.
“We took a look, as we do in every case, at a close critique of the facts and the law and the determination was made to not pursue the death penalty in this matter,” said Schadler. “Pennsylvania makes sure that there are very precise and very specific requirements for pursuing the death penalty.”
Both Hinton and Andrews are charged with first-degree, second-degree and third-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and firearms violations in relation to the alleged gunshot death of Baez, who authorities said did not have a weapon.
Authorities alleged that Baez and Andrews had been feuding when the shooting allegedly occurred.
Absent the death penalty, now the two men could possibly be sentenced to life in prison if they are convicted of first-degree murder or second-degree murder, and they could possibly be sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison if they are found guilty of third-degree murder.
According to Hinton’s defense attorney, Patrick J. McMenamin Jr., it is too early in the process to see if he and the prosecution can come to an understanding about what Hinton will do.
“We’re looking forward to going through all of the commonwealth evidence that they allegedly have against my client and analyzing it and my client is anticipating his day in court,” said Andrew’s defense lawyer Gregory P. DiPippo, post-hearing.