YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Newly discovered phone evidence in the case of a man accused of stabbing his wife to death at a Coitsville hotel has delayed his trial, which was set for next week.
A new date for Francis Rydarowicz, 50, in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, has been set for Aug. 2 before Judge Anthony Donofrio.
Jury selection for Rydarowicz’s trial was to begin next week, but Judge Donofrio agreed to delay the trial in order to allow defense counsel John Juhasz time to examine and prepare a defense for cell phone evidence that prosecutors did not disclose until last week.
Rydarowicz is accused of the June 19, 2019, stabbing death of Katherine Rydarowicz, who was found covered in blood in the parking lot of the King’s Motel on U.S. 422 from a stab wound to the back. She died at the scene, despite efforts to revive her.
Prosecutors recently revealed that they had access to the phone of the victim and were able to access it, and Juhasz said he needs time to look at that evidence and get a defense ready for it.
Judge Donofrio agreed.
“I don’t want to put the defense at a disadvantage,” Judge Donofrio said.
Ryadorwicz has been in the Mahoning County jail since shortly after his wife died. The two were estranged, police have said.
Juhasz also filed several other motions Monday, including a motion to continue the trial because of the COVID-19 pandemic and also for a change of venue, citing excessive publicity about the case which could make it hard to seat a fair and impartial jury.
Juhasz attached printouts of several stories about the case by local media outlets, all from either 2019 or 2020.
“Pretrial publicity has created a substantial likelihood that the defendant will not be able to obtain his constitutionally guaranteed right to a fair trial,” Juhasz wrote.
It is not clear if the motion to continue the trial because of COVID-19 is moot because a new trial date was selected.
Judge Donofrio set a May 21 date to hear arguments and decide on motions in the case and a final pretrial date of July 16.