WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - A man charged with criminal homicide in the death of a woman whose body was found in his sport utility vehicle in northeastern Pennsylvania three years ago is arguing that her death was self-defense.
Luzerne County prosecutors characterize 42-year-old Dana Ganjeh as a jealous and abusive boyfriend who brutally killed 56-year-old Linda Frick, whose was found covered with a blanket and towels behind his Kingston apartment in August 2018.
"She was beaten to death over a period of time. Her murder wasn’t an accident," Deputy Assistant District Attorney Thomas Hogans told jurors in his opening statement Tuesday. The victim had broken ribs, blood-filled lungs and bleeding in the brain, he said.
Prosecutors allege that the defendant wanted to silence Frick because she had reported domestic violence on his part a few months earlier. "Linda finally decided to pursue the charges," Hogans said. "Now she’s dead."
But defense attorneys Demetrius Fannick and Katelyn Spellman argue that Ganjeh defended himself when Frick pulled a pocketknife during a alcohol-fueled argument at her brother's home in Dreher Township, Wayne County.
"This was not a planned, premeditated event," Fannick said. "It was a heat-of-passion event."
Prosecutors are seeking a first-degree murder conviction carrying a mandatory life term without possibility of parole. Defense attorneys are seeking an acquittal or at most a third-degree murder conviction.