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Visiting judge will continue to hear PFA cases
BY DAVE JANOSKI
Published: Saturday, April 4, 2009 3:38 AM EDT
A senior judge who failed to order the seizure of guns from an abusive husband who later allegedly shot and killed his wife will continue hearing protection from abuse cases in Luzerne County Court, the county’s judges decided Friday.
Senior Judge Richard Saxton’s failure to grant the request of Kewaii Rogers-Buckner, who asked that her husband’s firearms be confiscated in a protection of abuse petition, was criticized by President Judge Chester B. Muroski after Rogers-Buckner was fatally shot by her husband on Sunday.
Muroski at first said Saxton would not be asked to preside in Luzerne County again, but then said he might only be barred from hearing protection from abuse cases. On Friday, Muroski called a meeting of the county’s judges to discuss the matter, saying he had made a rash decision.
“I acted rashly and contrary to the policy that I had adopted during the start of my administration,” Muroski said. “I failed to consult with the judges concerning the future services of Judge Saxton.
“He has served in Clinton County for 17 years effectively and he as served in our county, also effectively, and the court will have him come back to perform his services.”
All seven judges at Friday’s meeting approved retaining Saxton, Muroski said. The county’s eighth judge, Michael T. Toole, was not at the courthouse Friday.
Saxton could not be reached for comment Friday. He is a retired senior judge who is assigned by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts to preside over cases in counties that need help with their caseloads. Senior judges are paid $483 per day by the state.
Luzerne County, which normally has 10 judges, is down to eight due to the removal of Ann H. Lokuta by the state Court of Judicial Discipline last year and the resignation last month of Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., who faces federal prison for taking kickbacks.
Saxton approved Rogers-Buckner’s protection from abuse petition on March 26 after she alleged her husband, Donnell Buckner, had threatened her with guns.
On her petition, Rogers-Buckner checked a box indicating she wanted the guns relinquished to the county sheriff.
But Saxton did not check a box that would have approved her request.
Sheriff’s deputies were unsuccessful in locating Buckner on March 26 and 27. On March 29, he fatally shot his 31-year-old wife in front of the couple’s three children in their Wilkes-Barre home, police say.
Buckner, 34, is being held without bail.
Victim sought protection order from suspected killer husband
By Michael Sisak
Published: Monday, March 30, 2009 7:29 PM EDT
Kewaii Rogers-Buckner, 31, obtained a temporary protection from abuse order against her husband, Donnell Buckner, 34, last Thursday. A hearing to determine whether the order be made permanent, was scheduled for 9 a.m., tomorrow.
In the petition for the protection from abuse order, Rogers-Buckner said Donnell Buckner made threats against her life around 12:45 a.m., last Thursday, "saying that I should leave all my money in the bank for the kids because I won't need it."
"I said to him that if you're going to shoot me, then just shoot me, because I am tired of your threats and I can't take it anymore," Rogers-Buckner wrote on the petition. "He said, 'yea, yea, you will see.'"
The previous day, last Wednesday, Buckner asked Rogers-Buckner if she wanted to play a game of Russian Roulette, she said. She told him, "No, I do not."
"I was sitting in my living room, next to the door, in the event he tried to pull out his gun on me," Rogers-Buckner wrote in the petition. "He then said, 'close the door.' I stated, 'no, I will not close the door,' but he insisted, so since I was afraid, I went on my porch."
Buckner locked Rogers-Buckner outside the house, she said, and did not open the door until her 12-year-old daughter came home from school, around 2:50 p.m.
In the petition, Rogers-Buckner requested custody of her minor children, ages 9, 11 and 12.
"Mr. Buckner is very adamant about keeping me in Pennsylvania," Rogers-Buckner said. "He consistently tells me that he will hurt me if I leave him. He takes all the keys to the vehicles that are in my name so I can't get away. He sated if I leave he will find me and if he doesn't find me, he'll kill my parents."
The incidents last Wednesday and Thursday were the latest in a series of threats and violence inflicted on Rogers-Buckner by her husband, Rogers-Buckner said in the petition.
Last June, Buckner pushed Rogers-Buckner down a flight of steps, causing injuries that required treatment at a hospital emergency room, she said. Last October Buckner pulled a gun
on Rogers-Buckner and fired a shot, she said. The bullet pierced through a couch and lodged in the floor, she said.
"He took me into the bedroom, where I was begging for my life," Rogers-Buckner said. "He stated that he knows that someone heard the shots and if the police came he would blow my head off and then kill himself by the time they came. He said it would be all over and they couldn't protect me."
"I am afraid to sleep at night because he is very unstable and I don't know what he will do," Rogers-Buckner said.
Read Tuesday's edition of The Citizens' Voice for the full story.
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