Judge Thomas Bianco will conduct a hearing this morning to essentially decide whether Ronald Weiss will be tried again for the 1978 murder of a Tunnelton teenager, or if Weiss will go free.
Technically, it’s referred to as an “unopposed motion to reassign (the) matter” to a senior federal judge, after U.S. District Court Judge Mark Hornak last winter overturned Weiss’s conviction for first degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Barbara Bruzda, whose body was found in Young Township in March of 1979. Judge Hornak cited prosecutorial misconduct for his decision, ruling that the state attorney general’s office violated Weiss’s 14th amendment right to due process by not informing the jury that two fellow inmates of Weiss had been rewarded for their testimony against him with preferential treatment.
Weiss was convicted of first degree murder in 1979 and is reportedly working on a plea deal with prosecutors that could lead to a plea of third degree murder. With credit for time served, it could result in his release from prison. He’s serving his life sentence at SCI Fayette.
Chauncey Ross has written an extensively researched account of the Weiss case, published in yesterday’s Indiana Gazette.