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Witness statements leaked in Ochse case

(Nov. 7, 2014) State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby is considering what action he might take following his discovery this week that a recently launched website, www.justice-for-locals.com, is featuring what appears to be authentic police witness statements involved in the investigation into the death of Justin Cancelliere.

Cancelliere was pronounced dead in the early hours of Aug. 24, 2014 at Atlantic General Hospital. Arrested in connection with his death were Caleb Ochse and Christopher Blake Kendall, who were charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and fighting. The initial trial date is set for Jan. 7, 2015.

It is unclear from the website how many witness statements were leaked. At least three, but as many as seven distinct accounts of the night’s activities were made public. The accounts vary, but the editors of the website highlighted portions where witnesses claim not to have seen any specific altercation between the victim and the accused.

Most agree on a basic timeline: Rowdy people, elements suggesting a fight will ensue then an unconscious man laying the ground, likely Cancelliere, being loaded into a taxicab. Several witnesses admit to some level of intoxication during the night in question, and some of the witnesses appear to use English as a second language.

Security videos have also been made available through this website and there are links to other published reports and a release from the Ochse family. The website’s blog is administered by someone using the handle “krochse,” and an advertisement that ran in the Oct. 31, 2014 edition of the Dispatch claims the family of Caleb Ochse owns the site. The advertisement notes it was “paid for by the parents of Caleb Ochse.”

Under a banner headline urging voters to not support incumbent state’s attorney Beau Oglesby, a statement reads, “We are the parents of Caleb Ochse, wrongly accused by Oglesby in the death of Pennsylvania man Justin Cancelliere … but you can be the judge of his innocence by going to our website.” A highlighted portion followed listing the Justice for Locals URL. The quoted portion of the statement originally appeared in all capital letters.

When a domain name for any website is registered, certain information is made public, while additional security services may be purchased to shield the owners’ identities. In the case of www.justice-for-locals.com, those services were indeed purchased but the registration date of the site, in this case Oct. 29, 2014, remains viewable by the public.

“We will address this in coming days,” State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby said.

Ethically bound to not discuss details of an ongoing case, Oglesby declined to comment on the content of the site beyond stating the transcripts of the statements appear to be genuine.

“This is why we have a court system. Attempts by the family to try the case in the court of public opinion are not the way any attorney should do business,” Oglesby said.

Calls to the family were not answered.

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