Defense attorney says he met numerous times with Sanutti-Spencer

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Sep. 28—BLOOMSBURG — Defense attorney Christian Hoey testified Tuesday that he and his client Maria Sanutti-Spencer repeatedly discussed her testifying in her own defense but they agreed it could be detrimental in her murder trial in 2015.

Testifying on the second day of a Post Conviction Relief Act hearing in Columbia County, Hoey testified he was never told that Sanutti-Spencer's father, Rocco Franklin, had told family members he killed Frank Spencer himself in 2012. Hoey testified for nearly 3 hours Tuesday morning and said Sanutti-Spencer's brother, Anthony, never told him of the alleged confession. Anthony Sanutti testified Monday that Franklin confessed to the crime to him.

Hoey also testified Tuesday that he met with Sanutti-Spencer on numerous occasions to discuss the case. He said the two met on "multiple, multiple, multiple, multiple occasions" including discussions about Sanutti-Spencer testifying. He said the two agreed her testimony could hurt her case.

Sanutti-Spencer is scheduled to take the stand this afternoon.

Sanutti-Spencer, 55, of Selinsgrove, along with her father was arrested in 2014 for the murder of Sanutti-Spencer's ex-husband, Frank Spencer, 46, of Millville, two years earlier.

Williams said Sanutti-Spencer and her father plotted to kill Frank Spencer, who was found shot to death in his Millville home on July 2, 2012. Sanutti-Spencer was convicted in 2015 for the murder, her father was convicted in 2018.

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