A hearing to determine whether Marcus Bascus would need to supply a DNA sample to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office was held at Veterans Courthouse on Nov. 4. Bascus is the alleged accomplice in the off-campus party shooting that killed Jessica Moore and injured two other Seton Hall students
During the hearing, Judge Peter J. Vasquez ordered that Bascus supply a DNA profile to the prosecution by way of a buccal swab.
A buccal swab is a common DNA test where a type of q-tip is inserted into the patient’s upper cheek. A DNA sample is taken from the upper cheek cells contained on the q-tip after the cheek is swabbed.
Bascus’s attorney, Clifford Lorenzo, filed a motion following Bascus’ arraignment on Oct. 13.
He is being charged as the accomplice in the shooting. Prosecutors believe that Bascus supplied the gun to the alleged shooter Nicholas Welch.
Assistant prosecutor Romesh Sukhdeo told the court that the prosecution has already obtained the DNA profile from Welch, as well as the five victims.
Sukhdeo also said to the court that Welch’s attorney, Gerald Saluti, had told him that they believe that Bascus was the shooter and that a DNA profile can “convict or exonerate the defendant.”
“DNA will be used to establish and counter these acts,” Sukhdeo said.
Lorenzo said there is no sworn affidavit from Welch that he wasn’t the shooter. He also said that there is no sworn affidavit from Saluti stating that Welch will point the finger at Bascus
Lorenzo also does not believe that the prosecution will exonerate his client after the test is complete.
“Should the court grant motion for buccal swab, the state of New Jersey will not exonerate Marcus Bascus,” Lorenzo said. “They are not alleging that he committed the shooting. They are saying he supplied the weapon outside of the party.”
Lorenzo continued by questioning the prosecution’s case against Bascus.
“They (the prosecution) already know that Bascus wasn’t there,” Lorenzo said.
He said that there is only one witness that says his client provided the weapon, and that there are no connections between Bascus, Welch and the house party.
“The weapon has never been found,” Lorenzo said.
Sukhdeo responded by citing the protection order that is in place for the case.
“Discovery has not been provided,” Sukhdeo said. “I am baffled that this is brought up in court. Clifford (Lorenzo) doesn’t have the state’s file.”
Bascus was detained on Sept. 29 in an apartment located in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. by East Orange police, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the United States Marshals Services. He is being charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, four counts of attempted murder and weapons charges.
Welch was arrested on Sept. 27 and is being charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, burglary and additional weapons offenses.
Both Welch and Bascus entered not guilty pleas during their separate arraignments in September and October.
Tim LeCras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.