BOSTON (AP) – The state appeals court on Thursday declined to allow a new trial for a father convicted of beating a man to death at their sons’ hockey practice.

Upholding a lower court judge, the appeals court rejected Thomas Junta’s claim that the prosecution withheld information that could have been used to undermine a key witness during his 2001 trial.

The 6-foot-1, 270-pound truck driver was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for beating 160-pound Michael Costin to death at a Reading ice rink in 2000.

, after Junta got angry over rough play on the ice. Junta testified that he struck Costin only in self-defense. Others said Junta was red-faced with rage.

During the trial, medical examiner Stanton Kessler testified that Costin’s death was caused by “substantial force.” Junta said the prosecutors should have told his lawyers that Kessler had showed slides from the case at a Seattle conference and gave his opinion about the injuries and force needed to inflict them. The appeals court said there was no surprise in the expert’s conclusions.

Junta’s attorney, Brownlow Speer, said Junta would take his case to the Supreme Judicial Court.

“I think the synopsis of the evidence at trial by the appeals court is admirably correct and concise but we respectfully disagree quite strenuously with the legal conclusion that they draw from the facts,” Speer said.

Junta, of Reading, is serving a six- to 10-year prison sentence.

AP-ES-09-23-04 1256EDT



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.