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Opening statements begin in Zola trial

Mountain Top man charged in 2009 stabbing death of Rosemarie Cave, 35, in her Plymouth home.

WILKES-BARRE – A Luzerne County jury was selected Monday to hear the homicide trial of Robert George Zola.

A jury of six men and six women, as well as two alternate jurors – one woman and one man, will hear opening statements and testimony set to begin this morning.

Zola, 46, of Mountain Top, is charged in the Dec. 14, 2009, stabbing death of 35-year-old Rosemarie Cave in her Plymouth home.

County Judge Joseph Cosgrove is presiding over the case. Assistant District Attorneys Chester Dudick and Alexis Falvello are prosecuting. Zola is represented by attorneys Ferris Webby and Joseph Yeager.

Zola has previously asked Cosgrove a number of times for new attorneys or to to be allowed to represent himself in the case. All of those requests were denied by the judge, most recently last week.

The trial is expected to last into late this week.

According to court papers, Zola pulled Cave into the kitchen at a residence at 132 Nottingham St., Plymouth, and stabbed her multiple times with a kitchen knife as her then-17-year-old daughter slept in a second-floor bedroom around 2:30 a.m.

Zola allegedly told investigators he went to Cave’s apartment to pick up his belongings around midnight. He said he saw Cave sitting in a pickup talking to another man around 1:15 a.m. As Cave opened the door to her apartment, Zola pulled her inside and attacked her, the criminal complaint says.

Jeffrey Walter Roberts told investigators he met Cave at a tavern in Wright Township and gave her a ride home. Roberts was behind Cave when Zola allegedly stabbed her, the complaint says.

Roberts drove away and called 911 when he reached Main Street.

Investigators said a broken 8-inch kitchen knife was found next to Cave’s body.

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